Just seeing that merganser thrusting herself up to get a better view makes me smile. With water droplets falling off her feathers, it looks like she’s straining to see the future.
She’s not alone. Many creatures have a habit of peering ahead. I can never tell if they are checking for dragons or opportunities or, put another way, looking for food or fearing they may become food. With that kind of high stakes, it’s easy to see why they can quickly become interested in what lurks around the next corner.
There may be slightly different odds in play but I share the same obsession. In my imagination, I’m like a captain of my ship, standing on the deck (or wherever they are supposed to stand) under sunny, calm seas, thotfully charting my life course. It’s all about controlling my destiny while heading for a paradise on distant shores. And then my metaphor gets confused when I look out at the ice and fog. I have no idea which way to go let alone what trouble lies ahead.
It turns out there’s a couple of other pesky little issues with my metaphor. I can get a bit queasy driving over hills in a car let alone a boat on larger bodies of water. Coming to think of it, I know just about nothing about being captain of a boat larger than my kayak. There aren’t a lot of boat captains who live on the prairies. The closest I have come was enjoying a spoof done about a Saskatchewan pirate and encountering a couple of men who worked in the Canadian Navy on the prairies – a posting they had some difficulty explaining. They also seemed to have a lot of free time.
But perhaps the biggest problem with my captain metaphor is that my navigation, both on my actual travels and on life’s journey, seems inevitably to turn out different than I planned or expected.
Nevertheless something tells me that the wildlife and I will still keep trying to catch a glimpse of what’s around the next corner. It’s in our nature to be curious. So we continue to peer, plan and imagine while I strive for better alliteration in the future.
Pull up the anchor mate …