I took a ride today around the shotgun pond in Scotia, State Game Lands #176. There’s almost nothing living in the pond but at its edges to the southwest. When I get down about the way things are going, how sometimes it feels like we are going to hell, this is a place where I can find “The Peace of Wild Things.”
In the 19th and early 20th centuries it was ripped apart by the iron industry, logged to a barren heath. The land was raped. And after decades of recovery, she is a place alive and breathing.
All around this pond crows call and jack pines reach. Amphibians breed nearby at night, crossing the road to a big vernal pond. In spring the peepers sing in euphony as dusk settles its blanket. I’ve seen tundra swans, ringneck ducks, mallards, and Canada geese, foxes, possums, white tail deer, and raccoons. Today on a path maybe 3/4 of a mile from the pyrite pond I disturbed a mother turkey and three of her pullets. As I rode over a fallen trees, they scattered with no sound, their stunted wings flapping away. Over the wet tree and huffing up, the mother let out a quick gobble before hauling herself into the air on her brown mottled wings. She disappeared in the distance high in the canopy.
I kept riding.