Thursday, April 23, 2009


In the little city of Waterloo, this is the season of the duck. They're everywhere you don't expect them, waddling down sidewalks, poking under decks and peering under bushes, looking intently for somehwere to nest. When it rains and temporary puddles form in depressions in a sidewalk, they're there, paddling around, wondering whether this would be a good spot to stop - then when the inevitable happens and the puddle dries up they waddle off to continue their search. In any subdivision around sunset, look up and you'll see them silhouetted on rooftops, scanning the surrounding yards, intently searching out that perfect little spot.

Ducks have those two sides to them: the comical and stupid side, and the dignified and admirable side. You have to wonder at some of their dumb decisions; but then they seem so purposeful, and each pair seems so dedicated to each other.

When the ducklings come they always seem to cross the roads at the same place, making it possible for the city to put up duck crossing signs and for motorists to watch out for the straggling lines of little ones. Then the house cats come out and the straggling lines diminish to a chick a two. It doesn't seem to reduce the numbers much. Every year they fly off south and the whole thing starts the next year.


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