THE WOOD DUCKS
Once a pair of wood ducks grew old together. It had been a long life they’d shared, a life not without its chal¬lenges. In truth, love—owing so much to chance already—might never have brought the two of them together in the first place. Being born on different continents in the wide scattering of wood duck populations made the likelihood of their ever meeting remote beyond calculation. What circumstances must ultimately have brought them together could only be guessed at by the other ducks on the lake. Without question, they made for a strange couple in the eyes of many. These two didn’t just mate for life as wood ducks typically do but often appeared so utterly focused on one another as to be unaware that any other ducks were even around. They might come out of their mutual trance every once in a while and fall in with the flock as it traced familiar patterns across the lake, only to veer off again into their private rushes and reeds or take wing to a secret love nest in some hollow tree. What were they up to when vanishing like that, others of the flock wondered? It must involve more than the conjugal routines that the rest of them took as the normal course of a couple’s life. The array of avian erotic moves other ducks imagined with a wink and a nod would only have made the pair smile, however, at the limits of that imagining. Admittedly, the pair had felt an irresistible attraction at first sight, yet this by itself couldn’t explain their abiding attachment ever since. Hatching out at opposite ends of the earth had colored their lives differently and might well have hindered a shared life going forward, but the contrary became the embracing reality of all their years together. Their pasts had steadily merged, until they found themselves at one, paddling side by side or flying wing-tip to wing-tip for days on end through borderlands between their origins that were thought uncrossable by other ducks. In that expanse without boundaries, whatever self-awareness one had, the other affirmed. Whatever one experienced, the other experienced just as fully. And when they soared together from the lake and headed for those borderlands, the pleasure they took in the realm they were entering was simultaneous, equal, unending.
Copyright © 2020 by Geoffrey Grosshans