Jilara (jilara) wrote,

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A Walk by the Perc Ponds

I needed to explore, this lunch, get out and get into the air, etc. So I did something I'd been considering for a while, since I see them on the way to work every day. I took a walk by the percolation ponds, the ones in Campbell that recharge the water table.

It sounds prosaic, but it was an amazing walk. Over the decades, a whole new ecosystem has evolved. I see the cormorants all the time, sitting on the wires between fishing expeditions, but the swans were a new experience. As I walked along the rim, I watched ducks and coots, dragonflies flitting amid the cattails and fluffy grasses in tassel. And then saw the swan, upending among the water weeds, getting itself a bit of nibbles. Ungraceful, but fun to watch.

And the walk came with unexpected surprises, like a patch of white water lilies covering an area near shore. Someone, somehow, had established water lilies there, a good while back, to judge by the extent they spread. Walking along, I caught a waft of vanilla-butterscotch, and looked up into the familiar branches of a Jeffery Pine, far from its native Sierras. Oak trees shaded the paths and shed acorns.

I ran into a couple wheeling along a cart with an ice chest and a veritable forest of fishing tackle, looking for a way to get down to a flat area in the shadow of some trees and pampas grass. I nodded, and we smiled as we passed. I did a loop on the end, heading over to the Los Gatos Creek Trail for a while, stopping to listen to water falling over a man-made cascade, reading placards put up by the water district. At one point, I stopped to watch a huge gray spider who had improbably caught a red darner dragonfly in its orb, and was securely bundling it up, food that would probably last it for days.

Heading back along a dike, I stopped in the shadow of a cottonwood, reflecting that its shade fell over what looked like a good fishing spot. Emerging from this shady excursion, I saw a man fishing, who smiled and nodded. "Catching anything?" I asked. "Time with Mother Nature," he replied. I understood.

Heading back to my car, I saw a shadow and a small spot above water, and realized it was a turtle, floating just under the surface, only its nose breaking the water's surface. A diverse ecosystem, evolving before our eyes, behind an industrial park in Silicon Valley. Nature amazes me, constantly.

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