Sunday, July 3, 2011

0003: Mother Ducks

Just got back from a 3-mile walk with my pup. We started at 6:40am so it was nice out and it seemed as though the world was still asleep - I just LOVE early mornings. 

My neighborhood is mainly residential but within a short walk we have our little "Main Street" filled with boutiques, bars, restaurants, little galleries, salons, and quirky souvenir and antique shops that are so commonplace in S. Florida. We also have alot of canals and along these canals we have a healthy and adorable duck community. Everyone that lives here is aware of them. There are enough of them that you know they are there but rare enough that you still get excited when you see them.  

So, towards the end of our walk I see a few ducks huddled together. I cross the street because, although my pup doesnt go after them, I dont want to stress them out. Then I see that they are protecting a dead duck. The oldest (based on size, I'm no expert...) is perched on a rock ready to defend. The other two are sitting next to the dead duck; they are actually swatting away flies with their beaks. I am so saddened, surprisingly touched. Im wondering do I call animal control? I have no idea but then I see a loose dog running towards them so I get in the middle of the dog and the ducks then see a man jogging behind the loose dog. He stops; his dog stops at a nearby bush and doesnt even care about the ducks. But this man was also touched by what he saw.

He is a long time resident and said he has been raised near ducks all his life. That the dead duck was the mother, that you could tell it was a female - I dont know how - but that the two nearest to her were like teenagers. My eyes were totally watering up as I realized their love for their mother. And I could relate because I love and adore my mom. Who knows how long ago a car hit her, if she died instantly or had a few parting quacks for them? Did she suffer? Did they see her suffer? But they stayed with her and were still protecting her. Noticing my emotional state, this man then said, don’t be sad, there are two good things you have to think about: 1 - the surviving ducks are relatively mature so will survive and 2 - they have learned an invaluable lesson about cars and their danger. This man was so nice and so wise. He was going to take care of the dead duck. I said maybe he could give them a little more time to say good-bye. So I thanked him, took his optimistic words and moved along. I was just thinking about love and how I'd never thought of ducks being so like us. They were clearly mourning at the loss of their mom. My heart was going out to them when I noticed a group of about 15-20 ducks crossing the street. Two adults and a ton of little ducklings. They were racing towards the water (actually a rain puddle). I stopped and watched them for a little bit. The mature ducks were on total guard, alert and protective of their little ducklings. And the little ducks were oblivious as to the human and the pup nearby. They were splashing and carrying on in a state of bliss. It was sad to think that this was probably what the other ducks had not too long ago... Life is so short, so fragile. I'm thankful at the little life insight I received today. What a beautiful gift...

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