Friday, March 2, 2012

Duck, redux

On the weekends, en route home from my kids ski racing practice in Wisconsin, we pass a farm with a hand-painted sign on the road that read "Ducks for Sale." It always makes me smile. Ducks are my favorite bird. A recurring daydream involves living somewhere with a duck pond visible from my kitchen window.

This is a good time to credit foxypar4 for the photo. I selected it over other mallard photos because it best conjures the phobia, popularized by Gary Larson, of being watched by a duck.

My estimation of the steps involved between moving to a location with a duck pond and being in position to - with an Americano in hand - gaze upon a family or two of ducks cavorting around is this: Step 1:  Buy some ducks.

Stocking the pond would be a pleasure equal to the part where I stand in the morning sun with my hair looking perfect wearing an outfit (and shoes!) far more chic than the getup in which I presently find myself. The selection and purchase would have to take place in person at a shop like Bay Hay and Feed, a cozy  purveyor of gardening tools, clothing, gifts, livestock and feed located in the Pacific Northwest. On a visit many years ago they had several galvanized metal feed bins teeming with peeping birds of different feathers. I had to be dragged out of there that day, lured away with the promise of a latte next door.

If I had to order ducklings online (a common enough practice) I might be inclined to do the thing where you purchase eggs (incubation?) and then when the duckling busts out it thinks you're its mother. But that would blur the line between pet and livestock and the whole point of livestock is that they're not pets. You do your best to protect their outdoor environment but you can't have them shaking a tail feather inside unless you live in a barn.

It's such a lovely thing to live in relative proximity to the open spaces of Wisconsin and Michigan. Just seeing a silo now and then reminds me of the possibility of a slower pace. (This is what I was thinking when my blur of a car caught the attention of the state patrol last weekend.) Of course on every one of those farms is a woman with a view of a duck pond but she's too busy with her to-do list to appreciate them. I can relate to her. I'm in a busy time of life and there's lots on my list. I prefer to see this as evidence of a life well-lived, rather than a burden. Some like to knock the to-do list, suggesting that such a thing makes list-makers feel important or needed. I make lists because I am important and needed. And because I tend to forget stuff. Also, I love lists!

Ode to a list
Oh, to-do list
your python-grip on my neck
just makes me love you more.

With every addition and subtraction
my devotion to you multiplies.

Ok, that's all. I'm not even going to go into the part about how that farm in Wisconsin is much more likely to be selling duck meat as opposed to fluffy ducks.

Have a lovely weekend.

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