Sunday, April 4, 2021

Unflappable duck


     Donald Duck and Daffy Duck are very un-ducklike, now that I think of it. With all the sputtering and the flapping and the agitation, the harsh voice, of the former, and the cries of "Sufferin' Succotash!" of the latter. Crude stereotypes, really. A slur against ducks. It never occurred to me before.      
      Because actual ducks in the living world are quite placid. Particularly this fellow, noticed in the middle of the intersection of Greenbriar Lane Saturday while taking Kitty on her morning walk. Our presence didn't perturb her. Nothing seemed too. We drifted closer—I thought the dog would cause it to flap away. The duck sat down instead, as if to say, "See if I care."     
     There must be a lesson there, because we live in a very perturbed time. With the outrage porn on Fox News, every minute filled with indignation and chest-beating, clutching at themselves and finding new ways to declare themselves victims of this or that, using these imagined harms as excuses to harass others, instead of helping them, as their supposed faith commands. Were I them, I would get tired of it. The hypocrisy would wear me down. But they never seem to. Not that I watch it, but my safe guess is they never pause to take a breath, and do a segment on, oh I don't know. fresh pie. Or unflappable ducks. More the pity.    
     Kitty pulled me away, and I hesitated, gazing backward at the duck. Just sitting there. I wondered if it were hurt. Maybe I should investigate. How? Ask a question? Lift a wing? And were I to determine that it is ill. Then what? Administer aid? Take it to the duck hospital? "I found this sick duck..." As I was watching, a car came by, slowly, edging around the duck. I can't let all those red election signs give too grim a view of this place. We're still kind people, generally. Just some of us are scared, advertising our fear on our lawns and manifesting our terror through constant complaining about others instead of trying to improve themselves.  
     I let Kitty take me around the block, and we returned, the duck was gone.



  1. When I lived in Palatine we would often see a pair of ducks, male and female, waddling across our front lawn. After a long and hard rain, they would swim across the flooded lawn. Quite sweet.

  2. Indeed, the duck truly does not care: you are the background noise in his life. If you don't rise to the level of predator, he will keep on doing what he's doing (if anything).

    One day I was standing in my back yard on a quiet morning when a pair of Canada geese flew past right in front of me. I'm about six feet; these geese were operating at an altitude of 8. I felt a blast of air and an audible whoosh as they went by; I could feel the change of air pressure leave a shock wave in their wake. These geese Did Not Care that I was standing there; they did not swerve around me; they were on their way someplace else, official goose business.

    Out here near the Wisconsin border, we get more encounters with wildlife beyond the obvious ones like hitting a deer with a Buick. Ducks, rabbits, coyotes, deer, all roam our subdivisions, ignoring the fact that this is our land and they are just visitors to it. Perhaps I have that backwards.

    1. Yes! Rising to the level of predators! Is it legal to take duck by hand?
      They are yummy

  3. Auden made a great poem out of the indifference of animals to wonderful and terrible human things going around about them. Alluding perhaps to the Crucifixion he wrote:

    "That even the most dreadful martyrdom must run its course
    Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
    Where the dogs go on with their doggy lives,
    And the torturer's horse
    Scratches his innocent behind on a tree."


  4. We have a fox in our neighborhood. I've seen him when walking my dog. His reaction to our presence was much like that of the duck.


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