Anything Lime

Proof that a fish could marry a bird

Since moving into our lakeside apartment, Patrick and I have become one with nature. And, by “become one with nature” what I mean is we’ve gotten good at spotting alligators from our third-floor balcony (so far we’ve seen three). We often make such observations as, “that bird is an eagle,” when we both know it might or might not be an eagle. A neighbor once corrected us, saying that “eagle” and “osprey” are not the same. I was happy when that neighbor moved out.

One of my favorite creatures to observe is what I call a “snakebird.” I later found out the actual name of the bird is anhinga, but the official nickname is snakebird, which is a testament to my nicknaming expertise.

I know, this is my second post in a row about wild birds near my apartment, but again, ONE WITH NATURE!

I can’t count the number of times in my life I’ve heard the saying, “A fish could marry a bird, but where would they live?” Once was in “Fiddler on the Roof,” when Tevye gives advice to his daughter who is considering marrying outside of the Jewish faith. Another in a version of Cinderella, when considering the rarity of social mobility and the inappropriateness of a prince falling in love with a peasant girl. I’ve also heard it in discussions of interracial relationships. The circumstances are all different, but the theme is always the same: society often opposes change.

A bit more about the anhinga: it’s a bird that flies AND swims. Its feathers are not dense and flat, like the feathers of puffins or penguins. Rather, they’re fluffy, light and long. Even duck feathers are coated in oils that make them waterproof and anhinga feathers are not. Anhingas sink when they’re in the water, which might seem like a life-threatening situation to a bird, except that these birds use it to their advantage. They love to swim, they can hold their breath for a long time. With their bodies submersed and only their necks above water, they’re able to sneak up on schools of small fish.

The anhinga inspires me. And, no matter how different two creatures can be, love is the most powerful driving force. If a fish wanted to marry a bird, it might be complicated. But then again, it might prove that great things are born from overcoming the opposition to change. And there are few things as beautiful as seeing a bird come out of the water and take flight, as if he’s proving to us that no task is impossible, and that if he wants to, a bird can swim.

After returning to land, the bird dries by fully extending its wings. It’s quite beautiful. I see them standing on the edge of the water with such pride, and I think about how moving that truly is.

I’m lucky to live in a place that allows me to coexist with this magnificent creature.


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  1. * Cynthia Blades says:

    Great blog and pictures. **I LOVE THE ANHINGA!** (oops, sorry for screaming) I moved to central Florida about five years ago and thought they were the coolest bird I had ever seen, even now I’m still fascinated by them. So, continue to be one with nature! I’ll have to check out your other post on nature, this one was excellent.
    Have you run across any sandhill cranes, yet, another fascinating bird.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 8 months ago

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