Duck soup …
June 21, 2009 § 17 Comments
Ducking the book issue this evening, I wish only to note that we have neighbors in our pool lately. Many blogs ago, I introduced “The Canards,” two married mallards who live in the back woods of our property. There were also for some time, two other male mallards who I took for failed suitors. And in fact, I thought they’d departed for more friendly female climes.
Apparently not. This afternoon, for the fourth afternoon in a row, in fact, two males (and I honestly don’t know which two they are – perhap they have wives stashed in the woods but I lean toward the idea of them being wife-less and a couple of suave, “metro” ducks) have taken to waddling through the gate and coming to wiggle and swim at our place. Cute? Colorful? Rather endearing? Yes, yes, all of the above, yet this isn’t exactly a pond we’re all sharing here. (And I’m sorry, but they’re a bit messy.)
So the metro mallards and I play a little game of shoo. Typically, I go out onto the patio talking to them, explaining that they should stick with the shallow creek at the back of the property. Sometimes, I clap my hands. They then duck into the water. I walk toward them and they paddle furiously to the opposite end of the pool. I walk in their direction, and they do an about face and madly paddle in the opposite direction. This could go on and on. Since they don’t like to share the pool and since I start down the pool steps to get in there and splash around as well, they take off, honking and quacking and doing that low-flying thing that makes you think they will fall out of the air to earth, or bonk into a tree.
Today, it went a bit differently. They were surprisingly nonchalant.
1st duck: I think she’s coming over here.
2nd duck: Settle down. Be cool. She’s an animal lover. No worries.
1st duck: Oh, she really IS coming over here. Egads!
2nd duck: Really, man, I’m telling you, don’t get in a flap. These are really sweet people.
1st duck: You’re right. You’re right. I’ll just have a drink. Refresh myself. That’s all. I just need a little drink.
2nd: There ya’ go.
1st duck: We’d better keep an eye on her, though. I think she’s getting closer. I can’t tell. What do you think? Time to flee?
2nd duck: Good grief, man. We’re here often enough with little complaint. It’s likely because she has company today that’s she’s giving us a bit of the eye therefore she’s wanting everything ship-shape and heaven knows, we don’t keep a particularly tidy area. Or, maybe she’s on deadline. I’ve observed she’s a bit tense when she’s on deadline.
1st duck: Well, I’m walking around on the other side of you, keeping some distance between me and herself.
1st duck: Sheesh, I’ve a heck of a thirst today. Hot, isn’t it?
2nd duck: It is, after all, the first day of summer, ya’ know.
1st duck: Look! She’s awfully close – have a look, mate. Look! She’s standing right there.
2nd duck: Right. I can see her well enough. We have eyes on the side of our heads, ya’ know.
1st duck: This is me, tryin’ to be invisible. Is it working? Can you see me now?
2nd duck: Quack. Get a hold of yourself, mate. Of course I can see ya’.
2nd duck: All this dramatic tension has given me quite a thirst, I must say. (drinks) Yum.
1st duck: Oh, really. Please, shall we go? hmmm? shall we go now? hmmm?
2nd duck: Really, I’m feeling rather pressed by her presence. All we want is to linger longer and take in this gorgeous hot day.
1st duck: Step it up a bit, man, we’re clearly being discouraged and it’s not all in her expression. I think she’s doing that “shoo-ing” thing. Step it up, old man.
2nd duck: I’ll bet this all sounds like so much quacking to her, eh? Harumph. What do you want to do now? Suppose we should go check out the pool across the way?
1st duck: We’ll have to fly, ya’ know. Waddling at this pace will just never work, what do you say?
2nd duck: I’m with you. Besides, you’ve got that gimpy leg. Come on, old fellow, let’s take to the air.
Indeed, it sounded like so much quacking.
And off they went.
THE STORY OF PING by Marjorie Flack and Kurt Weise.
This is a picture book and story for kids. And people who read to kids. It’s still on our bookshelf. Snarl loved this one as a kid. Pink is a duck who lives in China and is herded along with his family on and off his owner’s boat. For reasons the read will discover, Ping decides to head out on his own and see the world. The illustrations are sweet, there are funny little details to cling to, age-regardless, and Ping discovers the meaning of home as he paddles the mighty Yangtze River.