Living in the How: Ollie’s Pond


A few Saturdays ago, Ken and I went to a new birding place in Port Charlotte, Ollie’s Pond. Whoever Ollie was sure had a nice spot, it reminds me of the Allendale Celery Farm but with alligators. Ken found one mama gator floating in shallow water under a bridge. Five of her babies sunned themselves on a nearby rock while another stretched out on mama’s snout. It would have been a great photo op but they were not up to my clumsy attempt to nudge the chain link fence out ever so slightly to get a camera lens pointed at them and slid into the murky water near their fierce mama.
A few moments later, they took a vote and in one unified effort climbed aboard her head. At the same time, a noisy crowd of people jostled in next to and in front of me, apparently, I was invisible. They laughed and roared at each other, squealed at the cute baby alligators, pushed the fence in so far, I thought it would snap off its posts. Meanwhile, a young man who claimed to be from New York leaned in and stretched his arms down to take a picture of the family with his iPhone6 but wasn’t satisfied with his vantage point so scampered around the rocks for another angle and leaned in over the concrete spillway where mama was lying EVER SO STILL and looking like death if you ask me, except for those six babies draped over her face and switching their rubber tails. The guy snapped a bunch of pictures, leaning in further and further until his obviously southern girlfriend drawled, ” If you hear a grunting sound….” and New York boy was airborne back over the rocks to the path from whence he came. I mean, SUPERMAN airborne, his girlfriend didn’t finish her sentence, we knew, he knew, mama alligator knew, he was too close, he was about to cross the invisible divide from safety into danger, always a slippery boundary with any one of us on one side or the other.

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One Response to Living in the How: Ollie’s Pond

  1. The only thing I can say is “forget the picture” and remember it in your memory. The guy was a total jerk. You can get close to alligators they have lived this long by not being too friendly.

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