Carmen Rasmusen Herbert: Splashing into summer by slipping into a duck pond

Carmen Rasmusen Herbert

Carmen Rasmusen Herbert’s boys enjoy the fountain at Red Butte Gardens.

On the last day of school I took my boys to Red Butte Gardens, one of our very favorite places, to ring in the new summer season.

We made the drive up to Salt Lake City for some fresh mountain air to, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful and tranquil places north of Point of the Mountain. I was determined to make a big splash with my kids and get summer started off right.

Boy did I ever — emphasis on the “splash.”

It was a somewhat chilly yet still pleasant afternoon, and the gardens were in full bloom. Scents of lavender, sage and cilantro tickled our noses in the Herb Garden. Sweet and heady smells wafted through the air in the Fragrance Garden, and I felt like my dog Cowboy as I followed my nose up and down the stone walkway.

The Children’s Garden is always a favorite with its water fountain and secret hideaways. My boys love playing on the giant painted lizards and in the cool sandpit, surrounded by colorful wrought iron snake, butterfly, bee and snail figurines. We happened to be there on the same day as the artist a few months ago, and watched in awe as he meticulously brightened the reptiles and insects in vibrant colors for children to enjoy for another season.

After the boys had sand in every nook and cranny, we headed down the long pathway to the waterfall and duck pond at the bottom of the hill.

“Mom, look!” My oldest, Briggs, had run ahead and was standing on a small rock in the middle of the pond. “There’s a baby duck!”

Carefully we followed the stepping stones out to a viewing point and spotted a mother duck with just one tiny duckling swimming through the tall reeds.

We watched as that duckling and mother stayed close together, never letting the other out of their sight for long.

“I want to feed them!” Briggs hopped up on the dock and walked over to the quarter feeder, which was being very generous that day and turning out free pellets. He threw in some handfuls just as…

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