Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Duck Tales

Monday, May 16th, 2011

As bike commuters, sometimes we are lucky enough to witness little bits of drama unfolding before our eyes on a daily basis. Going by the same spot at roughly the same times of day sometimes leads to repeatedly seeing the same people — for instance, on my old commute route, there was an old couple who would be out walking almost every morning, when I was riding to work.

A few weeks ago, I started seeing some ducks right alongside Highland Ave. First it was a couple — one male, one female. With all the rain we’ve had, the drainage ditch had running water in it and they were swimming, drinking, and eating in the water. I saw them every day, especially in the mornings.

Sometime last week, a second male showed up, and I would see all three ducks walking or swimming together. The drainage ditch seems to be getting drier and drier, but still the ducks stayed. Sometimes they’d be on one side of the road in the morning, and the other in the evening. I couldn’t tell if the second male was trying to challenge the first, or if they were all just friends, or what.

I got used to seeing the ducks and it made me smile every time I saw them. But this morning, tragedy struck. I saw the female and one male. I wondered where the other male went. Then I saw him a little further down the road, lying dead in the ditch. Very sad.

The obvious explanation is that he probably got hit by a car. But I like to think of alternate scenarios. Maybe the two male ducks fought to the death over the lady duck. Or, maybe they didn’t fight to the death, but the one who lost and was so distraught he threw himself into oncoming traffic. Or maybe the lady poisoned her “husband” so she could be with the other duck. The possibilities are endless.

As I observed a moment of silence for my dead friend, I went around a bend in the road and saw another duck couple. One duck dies, two more arrive. Then a little later in my commute, I saw a couple of deer — a doe, and maybe a hundred yards away, a young buck.

With any luck, I think my commutes are about to get more dramatic.

7 Responses to “Duck Tales”

  1. Jon Grinder Says:

    Maybe those two are the Bonnie and Clyde of ducks, and they found out the second male was a stool pigeon…

  2. Apertome Says:

    Another great interpretation, thanks Jon!

  3. David Crowell Says:


  4. Pondero Says:

    Oh sure, there’s the thrill of exploring something new. But there is also the detailed knowledge, and sense of “place” that comes from the familiar. I still enjoy making the 3-mile loop through each coming season and noticing the little changes that occur.

  5. Christy Says:

    I walk the B-Line trail pretty much every day and while I have not experienced the drama that unfolded before your eyes, I too take some comfort in seeing some familiar faces. Yesterday, I was behind a Mom with two young twin girls playing “Red Light, Green Light” and it reminded me of when my girls were that young… Thanks

  6. Chandra Says:

    A very nice story indeed! Good to note that you are noticing the “little” things in life!

    Peace 🙂

  7. John Says:

    Just when you had all your ducks lined up a deer appears. Doh!

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