Of course they are. They’re as reliable as the tide. They always return right before Thanksgiving. And they always set up camp in the same small spot. Just a bit down the sound from us. Year after year.
They’re the mergansers, of course. Those sweet-faced little ducklings.
As part of their daily lives, they go “shopping” every morning at 7:30 am. Always in pairs, as is their habit. I worry when when I see an odd number. Did one become ill over night? Or just opt for a wee sleep-in?
I observe them daily from our own little perch on the second floor. Our bedroom windows give us an unobstructed view of their morning habits. I like to imagine their “conversations” but will spare you that.
But, just this morning, as the four pairs swam together, I saw one dart away. He/she swam, quickly to a bush near the shore. The other ducks and I watched in surprise.
I could imagine their concern. I shared it. An obvious break in a pattern is never a good thing. He/she swam out from under the bush several minutes later. We, the ducks and I, watched with concern as he/she didn’t return to the flock but rather swam off in the direction of the nest.
The flock returned to their important tasks. Gathering, hunting, fishing. Life needs to go on.
But now I’m worried. I’ll assume my post tomorrow at 7:30 and I’ll be counting. I desperately need all of eight of them to be there.
The Foot restricts my actions. As a result, the ducks may assume more importance than they should. There’s an upside to that, of course. Little things become just that much more compelling, meaningful. and valuable. Just like those sweet little mergansers and their fascinating behaviors.