In Front of Ducks

This post is dedicated to Julie Craves and Darrin O’Brien* 

“Looking at birds is our thing,” Alina said. “We need a thing that we do.”

We had just wandered into Le Teich Bird Sanctuary near Arcachon, France. It was the end of the day; they’d given us a slight discount and told us we probably couldn’t do the full 7km walk in the time before close.

The sanctuary is a little batch of freshwater backed up against and protected from salty bay water by a natural dike. When the tide goes out, the birds chase it and pick up tasty morsels in the muck. When the tide returns, the birds hop over the edge and hang out back in the basin gossiping about the day’s events.

Alina and I arrived from the beach, salted and sun worn, no binoculars in hand. Freshly married, everything seemed as if it could be ‘our’ thing.

Walking up to the first blind, we chanced upon a flock of British tourists sporting camouflage and khaki and binoculars and impressively long telescopes whispering among themselves. We sat next to them and whispered about how we hoped they might take pity and offer us a peak through their glass. But it didn’t happen.

Regardless, we were here to bird. We saw shovelers and pelicans, coots and ospreys, swans and any number of those little birds with long beaks that skitter along on stilty legs. The only ones that allowed us close enough for a picture were these mallards.

What defines a relationship? Do you need to find a thing that’s your thing? Do we need our song or our movie? Should our thing be wearing the same clothes so everyone knows we’re a pair? If birding becomes our thing, would we share that with anyone else, or is it just ours? The nice part about this whole getting married deal is going through that process. Two separate folks trying on different things to see what fits.

And maybe we’ll pick up a pair of binoculars and a fancy Roger Tory Peterson book down the road.

And maybe we won’t.

*A lovely couple who did figure out that birding is indeed their thing. Read Julie’s blog on Coffee and Conservation.


2 comments on “In Front of Ducks”

  1. Our typical outings together are shown in the “about us” sidebar. Here we are focusing on the “same” subject.

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