|Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -- over and over announcing your place in the family of things. --Mary Oliver|
Two Ducks & Their 7-Year-Old Hero--by Laura Simpson, syndicated from care2.com, Jan 11, 2012
Written by Robert Knight of Kentucky
When I was around 7 years old, I saw a pair of ducks in my front yard. I knew ducks liked bread, so I decided to feed them before they had a chance to fly away. I didn’t know it then, but these two ducks ended up being one of the most influential factors in who I’ve become today.
Around a week after their first visit, the ducks found their way into my yard again. I thought this was odd, since the lake in our neighborhood wasn’t very close to my house. I fed them again though, since that was all I knew I could do with ducks.
They came back every day after that for a month or two and even learned to come up to my front door and quack when they wanted food. It then dropped to just one of them about once or twice a week. I’m not sure quite how long this lasted, but one day after a big storm, they both ended up in my front yard.
This Time, Something Was Terribly Wrong
I was excited to see them both together again, so I brought out extra food for them. They seemed different though, agitated. They didn’t stop quacking when I came out the way they normally did. In fact, they quacked more. When I threw the first little piece of bread to them, the male actually picked it up and threw it back at me and resumed his frantic quacking. I took a few steps toward them then to see if they would back away how they usually did, but only the female moved this time. This puzzled me, but the way they were acting reminded me of movies I had seen when an animal wanted someone to follow them. I went back inside and explained it to my mother and got permission to try and follow them.
When I went back outside, they had moved to the corner of my yard, apparently assuming I had given up on them. They heard the door close and the male ran back to me, quacking the whole way. I followed them to the corner of the yard, down the road, around the corner, across a street, and then the lake was in sight. The female flew down near the lake then, but the male led me down by foot. When we got to the lake, they both went to a storm drain at the edge of it and started quacking down into it. I came over and looked down, and what I saw shocked me. I saw seven ducklings about eight feet straight down at the bottom of this drain, just looking up at us.
I Ran For Help
I knew I had to do something to help, so after explaining to the ducks that I would be right back, I ran back home. It took me about 10 minutes to convince my dad to come help me, but he got his fishing net that was attached to a long pole and came with me. It didn’t take him long to get seven out, but he said another was down there. It kept swimming into and out of the pipe at the bottom to avoid the net.
I ran back across the street and down the hill to find where the pipe let out. When I found it, the duckling was at the end of it, but I scared it back through the pipe to where my dad’s net was. This duckling took us around 20 minutes to get, but we finally did. As soon as it was out, the parents escorted the ducklings away from the drain and started checking them over. By this point, it was about time to eat dinner so we went back home.
Another Quack at the Door
The following day, I heard another quack at the door. I went out to see the two ducks and all eight ducklings in my front yard. I already knew better than to try and touch them, so I just looked at them and saw that even though they had been through a lot, they were all fine. After a couple minutes, they all walked back down my yard and started walking down the road, the opposite way from the lake.
I never did see them again, so I can only assume that showing me their children again was a way of saying thank you and good bye.
Brought to you by The Great Animal Rescue Chase.
This article was reprinted here with permission from the author. More from Laura Simpson, a tireless advocate for animals and founder of The Great Animal Rescue Chase.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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