They say many breeds of birds pair for life. The Australian shelduck is one of them. So, to find this male, always alone, saddens me. I first saw him high on the ridge of the grasslands in the park. He sat for at least an hour, surveying the lake and all the activity of the birds below. He is now comfortable to move to the edge of the lake, among the Eurasian coots, without interacting with them. The coots, intent on feeding, tolerate his presence.
Yesterday, I found him alone again. It saddened me for a moment. Then he took my breath away when he turned and faced me. Such a handsome, poised bird! Unlike other birds, he stood his ground and watched me approach him, then, sat at the edge to gaze at the lake. It was a moment of complete trust. In a week of daily encounters, I am a familiar presence in his landscape. It is not difficult to acknowledge, he is now part of mine.
Different to friendship, at a certain age people seek others out for companionship. I am with people all day. I talk to people all day. I listen to people all day. I have friends I keep in touch with on a regular basis. I talk to my children frequently. Yet, at the end of the day, there is a niggling need in me to seek out companionship and find it in another. When I do, my day is complete. I’ve come to realise companionship is a soft place to land. It is like experiencing a moment of silence after a peal of bells.
Until next time,
a dawn bird
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