The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

17 March 2014

Of ducks and harbours.

While playing 'Dodge the pothole' on my way to work in the morning, I see a beguiling sight.

I drive on a major roadway - Canadians will know what I mean when I say it's a 400 series - which in my neck of the woods follows the south shore of the big lake. In one section, a low bridge takes us over a charming harbour (where rests a lighthouse and a pirate ship, two very cool things in close proximity). Despite the cold temperatures and general miserableness of this year's winter weather, a portion of the water on the inland side has remained open in a crescent shape.

I noticed what at first I thought were rocks dotting one segment of the arc right where open water meets ice. The water was very low, or so I thought, for rocks to be poking out like that.  Good thing nobody would be attempting to navigate a dinghy around there today.  Each day I noticed the rocks had a peculiar shape, but we zip by so very quickly it's hard to take in the details - particularly when the tractor-trailer pulling up beside you is insisting on his right to your lane - ... and then I finally realized: not rocks, but ducks! Or geese! Or gulls!  They were birds of some sort!  Sitting with their feathered little bums perched on the ice, dangling their webbed toes in the water, all in a gentle, curving row, like wee black gems on a necklace.

Every day, there they are, sitting in the exact same spots. It looks like the exact same number of them. I wonder, is it the same birds, morning after morning?  Are they frozen in place?  Do they need rescuing?  What is the avian version of a St. Bernard? If they all tried to take off at once, would they lift the frozen harbour with them?  Would any of the time-stressed people on the road with me notice such a thing?

These are the thoughts that fill my mind as I head to the big city to start my day of work.

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