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 mysteries. In truth, love—owing so much to chance already—might never have brought the two of them together at all. Being born continents apart in the wide scattering of wood duck populations made the likelihood of their ever meeting in the first place remote beyond calculation. And what circumstances or destinies must ultimately have carried them towards one another could only be surmised by the other ducks on their lake. They were a curious couple in the eyes of many, no doubt about it. These two didn’t just mate for life like other wood ducks, but often appeared so utterly focused on each other as to be unaware that any other ducks were even around. They might come out of their mutual trance every once in awhile and fall in with the flock as it traced familiar patterns over the lake only to veer off once again into their private rushes and reeds or take wing to a secret nest in some tree hollow. What were they doing on these occasions, others in 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. Admittedly, the pair had felt an irresistible attraction at first sight, yet that by itself could not explain their abiding devotion over the years since. And though far-distant homelands had colored their lives before meeting and might well have hindered a shared one going forward, the contrary became the sole reality of their love. Day by day, their pasts merged, until the two found themselves one, paddling side by side or flying in rhythmic tandem through a borderland between worlds thought by others to be uncrossable. Their devoted union was complete. Whatever self-awareness one had, the other shared. Whatever one experienced, the other experienced just as fully. And whenever they soared far from the lake, their awe at the wonders of the borderland they’d entered was simultaneous, equal, and unending.
Copyright © 2016 by Geoffrey Grosshans