We are freer than birds,
for they must obey their DNA
while we are free to choose.
But we pay a price for that.
Today we remember who paid.
They leave quietly in the night, the ducks, hawks, and divers who have spent the winter with us. For them, Seattle is the balmy south. Now that spring has arrived, they are heading north and east to their breeding grounds. Spring is not traditionally a melancholy season, but I miss the teals, buffleheads, and wigeons who have delighted me for so many months. I know I won’t see them again until October, and some will never return, fallen in transit or eaten while defending their nests. On the other hand, I can’t spend much time in mourning, for the spring migrants and summer residents are arriving by the thousands. One of my favorites is the Cinnamon Teal, a glorious assemblage of red, orange, burnt umber, and yellow, a living hotbed of glowing embers in duckly form. Five males were on Main Pond yesterday, trying their best to impress a female, who seemed more interested in eating than in dating.
Here is a poem for you about the teals:
Remember the ones who are gone, yes,
who may return,
Rejoice for the ones here in now,
for they bring glory to today.