Again, they were there: Four ducks—two with long necks, one white and the other black, and two squat mallards whose emerald–green heads glinted in the January sun—dimpled the surface of the partially frozen pond; it was enclosed by simple homes that an extended family had built decades ago.

Unlike other times when I used to pause during walks, I noted many Suzys, females with speckled brown feathers, preening beneath the January sun, occasionally circling one of the males, then turning away. From the grassy bank, two Canadian geese strutted like self-important butlers intent that everything should be in order.

Indeed, it was—the selection process was underway. Once accomplished, the pairs of mallards will remain together, build nests obscured by long grasses along the bank, mate, guard the eggs until their May hatching, then feed and teach the ducklings over the summer. Their molting and growth and water-antics often had brightened my mood in past summers. Nearby, little children squealed with delight, jumped up and down. At times, cars also stopped.

Yesterday’s simple experience gave me pause; its joy of cyclical creation suggests an Unseen Presence at work in our lives, as well. Beauty abounds … It’s always close by.