augury doggerel

Wednesday, March 13, 2002


Ducks migrate for miles and know the tricks of the air as well as any bird, but they don't quite look built for the sky. A duck in flight is a penguin's circus cousin catapulted aloft.

There is no rest for a mallard in flight, no glide on the currents. The duck's short, sharp wings mill the air. Yet they fly a lovely straight low line over my home every morning and find the strength to quack something to someone -- "Here we go again" is what I'd guess.

Then they barefoot a back-arching skim on to a spirit-level pond. You can't see their chests heave, but they must, at least for a minute, after settling from a race over the rocks to soft, buoyant water. They must breathe and look around and take in the day.


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