Ducks in the yard

Spring is real­ly spring­ing this week. Today my wife and son walked down to meet me on my way home from the Job. Free from my cubi­cle for the rest of the day, a cool breeze on my face and the warm rays of the sun upon my back, it was a very near­ly per­fect afternoon.

Just a few blocks from our apart­ment is a house whose yard is a sort of best-effort inner city ver­sion of a “wild space” which, to be fair, is a pret­ty good effort. Most of the yard is tak­en up with a large mul­ti-tiered pond, ringed with rough blocks of lime­stone, sur­round­ed by cat­tails, small trees, and marsh grass.

The house was recent­ly on the mar­ket, and the new own­ers have been there only since last sum­mer some­time, I think. As we walked by this beau­ti­ful spring after­noon, a mid­dle-aged woman emerged into the yard car­ry­ing a rake and said, loud­ly and (to me) some­what dis­con­cert­ing­ly: “Okay, ducks, what are going to do now?” Before I had time to won­der why she was thus declaim­ing, a pair of Mal­lards flew up out of the pond and went wing­ing off over the inter­state just behind the house.

The woman then turned to us con­spir­a­to­ri­al­ly and said, “The ducks just won’t stay out of my yard.”

I just smiled at her. I want­ed to say very care­ful­ly: “You have a freak­ing duck pond in you yard. What part of this is sur­pris­ing or con­fus­ing for you?” But I did­n’t want to seem hos­tile, or smarter than her.

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