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.