For the second year running, I’m taking part in Blog Action Day. The topic for 2009 is climate change. As an environmentalist, how could I say no? Instead of getting all preachy (which I’ve been known to do at times, I know) I’ve decided to share a sweet story of romance…between penguins. Remember, though: these penguins are living in a time of rising temperatures and disappearing sea ice. In other words, not every romance has a happy ending.
Penguins in a Dangerous Time
By Giselle Renarde
“Tell me,” Megan cooed, nuzzling her beak into the down of Andy’s chest. “Please?”
Running his beak along the side of hers, he teased, “What, you can’t wait until tomorrow?”
“No,” she pouted. Megan cuddled her head against his neck. She really knew how to work the male of the species. “What did you get me?” she pleaded. “Come on, cutie. Give it to me now.”
He cocked his head. “Give it to you now?” he asked in his most seductive tone. Running the tip of his beak up the side of her head, he paused before tracing the line separating black from white. She was without a doubt the prettiest penguin he’d ever seen. “You want me to give it to you, huh?”
As Megan gazed into his eyes, she felt giddy. She was half tempted to let him stand on her back then and there. He was definitely cuter than any of the other penguins around. Still, she giggled at his cheap come-on. “Yeah,” she replied. Andy thought he was such a Lothario. “I want it real bad…”
“You want what real bad?” he asked, snuggling in close.
“You want to know what I want?” she flirted, pressing her front against his. With a quick love bite to his shoulder, she squealed, “I want my surprise!”
Andy stepped back. He couldn’t say no to her. Even so, he asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to wait for the special day?”
A though suddenly sparked in her mind. “Oh, I know what it is,” she cried. “You’re taking me across the ridge, aren’t you?”
When Andy’s expression fell, she knew she was on to something. “I’m right!” She shrieked, flapping her fins. She’d dreamed of this day from the time she was just a chick. “You’re taking me across the ridge!”
“It was supposed to be a surprise,” he said, somewhat disappointed she’d guessed it so quickly.
“Let’s go now,” she urged, pushing him north.
The idea hadn’t occurred to him. His mind was set on leaving tomorrow. “You mean we should and not tell anyone?”
“They won’t miss us for one night,” she replied, pressing on. “And we’ll meet up with all the other couples tomorrow. No biggie. This way, we’ll have the place all to ourselves.”
His mouth just about fell open at the prospect. How could he possibly resist the temptation of a night alone? How could he refuse Megan when her eyes sparkled in the sunlight? “Well?” he teased. “What are you waiting for? Let’s blow this icicle stand.”
They sighed with their shared secret. When he was younger, Andy would never have imagined himself heading across the ridge before the big day. A lot of penguins looked down on that sort of thing. But Megan was worth it. He would give her anything. He was just about to tell her so when the ice shook so badly they fell on top of each other. They were too scared to laugh.
Megan looked up at Andy, her eyes wide with alarm. “What was that?”
“I don’t know,” he said. He had a suspicion, but didn’t want to frighten her before he knew for sure. “You stay here. I’ll check it…”
Just as he rose upright, the ice shook again. Andy fell back down on Megan. Still, they couldn’t find any amusement in their close contact. Maybe, in their hearts, they both knew what was really happening.
The ice continued to rumble so badly they couldn’t get up. They shouted questions at each other, clinging together, but the thunderous roar was too loud to overcome. All they could do was wait it out.
When the rumbling stopped, they both stood to look around. One every side they saw ice, ice, more ice, and then ocean. Neither wanted to acknowledge what was happening, but now they were both sure of it. They were floating. As they stood there, turning in circles in hopes of finding some spot where the ice was attached to ice and not ocean, faith dwindled to nothing.
“I guess we won’t be getting to the ridge now,” Megan said, trying to make light of it all. Right away, she hated herself for making the joke. The situation was dire. They were trapped on an ice float.
“Maybe if we waddle really fast,” Andy suggested. “Maybe if we try, we can make it.”
They waddled, but it was no use. It took forever to get to the outer edge of the ice. When they arrived, they looked out at how far they’d floated. “I can’t swim back from here,” Megan cried.
“You think I can?” Andy snapped. When her eyes filled with dismay, he let out a big sigh. He wanted to save her. He would do anything for her. But what could he do now? They were trapped. “I’m sorry,” he said. His shoulders fell along with his hopes. “I wanted today to be perfect, and look what I’ve done. We’re going to die out here. We’ll never see the others again. It’s over.”
As much as Megan wanted to stay optimistic, she’d heard the stories too. The ice was melting too early, before couples could across the ridge. There was no telling where it would happen, or when. Trapped on the ice float, they couldn’t feed or fish. There were no krill where they were headed. They’d starve to death. They both knew it.
“It’s not your fault,” she said, cuddling close. She pressed her front against his. “Let’s just be happy we’re together. It’s not our fault this is happening.”
It's not their fault.
Thanks for reading,
Canada just got hotter!