The hardest edge
From our kitchen window I watched the first Common Merganser arrive to our lake since last spring. It was the weekend, and I was afforded the time and space to sit and watch. I did so mostly while tending to various pots and pans in the kitchen. The watching of this solitary duck gave my work rhythm, as I moved back and forth from window to stove. This lone duck spent its day almost identically to me, perched at the end of our dock, waiting and watching for the others that must surely come. I have never seen one alone. Not before today.
Sibley says that when looking for birds, one should study edges:
Bird activity is often concentrated along edges--the edge of a lawn, pond, or woods tends to be more productive than the center--and you should search initially along these borders.
I look for these ducks, along with the other half dozen species that will join it in the weeks to come, at the two ends of winter. This watching forms yet another rhythm, this time to my life, as I move back and forth across the cold, dark boundary of winter. The coming cold and ice are another edge I know I must look toward if I am to find what I seek.