In the mornings a newly paired couple of ducks sneak up to the winter’s bird-feeding tree and gobble up seed and grass, always on the lookout. But with a cup of coffee in hand, before the day starts, I settle back in my chair and watch them as the cautiously feed. After ten minutes of so they fly off either to the pond a few hundred yards back or to the other side of the property where the water gathers a few feet deep, fed by the trickling stream from upland.
I’m not sure why I find these moments special, but I do. Always sad to see them fly away, I know that I will meet them when walking Maggie (my dog), and we always do. they complain and fly off but by the time we are making our way back towards the house, there they are again.
They are Mallards, a common duck, and are beautiful like the mornings here, grey and rainy, a bit cool; the subdued weather brings out their colors even more. I like that they are cautious but getting braver every day. I like the cool, grey mornings that are getting warmer and a bit more sunny every week. There is change in the air, and the ducks know it too.
Soon they’ll mate and eggs will be laid, ducklings will be presented to the world and the ducks will become parents. Perhaps, with a little luck, those ducklings will grow and have a happy life, only to show up once again in my little corner of the universe to feed cautiously as I watch, coffee in hand.
And when the coffee is cold and I am no longer here to watch I can only hope that there will be ducks cautiously feeding under tree, always on the lookout for the change that is, in the end, inevitable.