Little ducks, I love them so much with their soft bills that end in tiny, curled smiles. I love their inquiring eyes that sparkle as they tip their heads to look up at me, eyes that come in amber, chocolate, espresso, ice blue, sky blue, hazel, green and any combination of colors with magnificent specks and flecks of brilliance surrounding their pupils. Just like us they have friends and lovers and partners. They go steady, have one night stands, go on dates. They get jealous and have fights over things that are not readily apparent to observing humans. Some of these fights seem to be verbal, in fact.
A knock on my door around 10 p.m. as I was about to leave and be designated driver for my friend. Who could it be? Then the doorbell rings. I decide to peak out the window–it’s late and I’m not expecting anyone–and see the elderly neighbor in her bathrobe, hair disheveled. I fear an emergency.
She tells me a duck has been hit by a car out on Wellesley, the busy street a block behind me, that she was afraid the duck was mine. That the woman who tried to rescue the duck fell and is in the hospital.
I thanked her. I had counted my ducks about an hour earlier when I put them to bed. They’d been particularly noisy that day as I’d deflated the large pool and my sister and her fiance came over to help me move a cast iron bathtub in place of the pool.
I was confident the duck found on the street was not mine.
Still, I ran.
Maybe the duck is still alive.
What if I’d miscounted?
The section of street in question is particularly dark at night (as are many streets in Spokane where the streetlights are dim). Yet, I could see a feather. I knelt, plucked it from the ground, a brown color, much like my little muscovy, Jing-Jai and Sao-Ree’s baby, Bernadette.
Perhaps a feather flew from my yard; feathers fly up and away all the time.
A few more paces.
There she was: one of the most beautiful reddish-chocolate ducks I’d ever seen. White tips on her wings. Her eyes still open and moist, her mouth agape. She had crawled from the street into the weeds and died.
Where did she come from?
I picked her up and walked home with her on my arm, told the neighbor she wasn’t mine, but how grateful I was that she’d come to get me. Someone had lost their pet, a well cared for hen–young, from what I could tell.
Sometimes people commit cruel acts, like toss babies and puppies and duckies out moving vehicles. I hope that isn’t what happened. Still…this reminds me of the movie The Incredible Journey in which the two dogs and the cat travel a great distance to find their family, only this beautiful little duck was killed just feet away from her destination.
The more I thought about the circumstances throughout the night, the more heartbroken I felt. What if this duck was raised as a single duck in a house a few blocks away and she heard my girls quacking loudly, as they did today, in particular, and she escaped her enclosure, attempted to find the flock and that is how she met her end? This scenario is likely.
Poor, sweet little girl. I wish she’d crossed the street safely. A neighbor would have noticed and they would have thought she was mine, as was the case. Her dreams may have come true at last.
Almost. She almost made it.
I admire her courage.
And the woman who fell and is in the hospital for trying to save this poor duck–I admire her courage, too. I will find her and thank her. She is good people.