The morning started badly.
I had been up for about 20 minutes when I realized that dinner was not going to work out as planned, so I decided to whip up some hummus on the fly so it could sit in the fridge and the flavors could meld before dinner. But that just didn't work. Either I don't know how to use my blender, or I don't know how to make hummus (most likely a combination of the two), but at any rate, it was a chunky, blobby mess when I gave up because it was time to leave. Marcos promised to work with it when he gets home tonight, to make sure it's edible.
I was driving down the street near the creek when Marcos said, "Oh, ducky." I looked over at him and noticed that he looked concerned, and also I didn't see any duck.
"Where? I don't see a duck," I said.
"It was a little baby duck, and he was walking down in the ridge next to the curb."
"In the gutter?" I asked, horrified.
Some of you already know my feelings about waterfowl- just ask Holly and Marcos what my reaction was to their suggested Thanksgiving tur-duck-hen. Let's just say it was definitive, and unyielding. I love ducks, and geese. I don't believe in much, but I honestly believe that I was a duck in a former life. If this was the Harry Potter universe, my patronus would be a duck. There is very little that can cheer me up faster than seeing a duck in a stream, or just walking in the grass or flying. Every single time I see a duck, or geese, I point out the window and say, "Duck!" or "Geese!" and if the person I'm with doesn't look, I am deeply offended. I believe in the old Native American adage: Ducks are God's favored creatures, as evidenced by the fact that they can walk, swim, and fly.
The mere thought of this poor duckling running down the street in the gutter was horrifying to me. I knew he was going to get run over. I didn't see him, and I'm a very observant driver. Lord only knows what would happen when the next teenage girl, putting on mascara and texting on her way to school, drove by.
I shouldn't have looked in the rear view, but I did. The little duckling rounded the corner and was running- yes, a running duck- towards the stoplight. All I could think was, I hope he gets to the corner, where there's a curb cut and he can get up on the sidewalk and onto the grass. The curb was too high for him to jump and he had little useless baby ducky wings. The longer he was in the street, the larger chance he stood of getting run over by one of us useless humans. This is the plight of the urban duck.
Then I started thinking, even if he gets to the grass without getting run over, is he going to starve to death? Where is his mother? Did she just go off for a morning swim in the creek, and now she's going to come home and notice that one of her babies is missing?
As I drove away, the waterworks began. If I lived in Wisconsin, I would have stopped and captured him and given him to Shoshanah. I think he was a mallard. He would have fit right in on the farm. But I don't live in Wisconsin, and most people I know don't even have much of a yard. We're urbanites. We don't have provisions for ducks, and my cats would eat him if I took him home.
I felt silly for being so upset over a ducking I don't even know. I was sobbing and wiping my eyes and apologizing all the way to work. Marcos was helpless to stop it.
"I'm having such a bad day, I'm sorry," I cried.
"Don't be sorry. Your day will get better," he said.
"Not for the duck!" I sobbed.
I would love to tell myself that the ducky made it to the grass, and then his mama came back. Or that he fell in with another brace of ducks that was passing through on their way north for the summer. Or that a kind jogger came by and scooped him up, taking him home to feed him sardines and oyster crackers and let him have a dog bowl full of water to swim in until he got big and strong enough to fly away, and start a flock of his own. But I'm older, and wiser, and yes, more cynical than that, and I know that it probably didn't end well for ducky.