Sorry Ducks

In a fit of desperation today, the kids and I headed to the playground. Yes, it was 38 degrees. No, I could not find a matching set of hat and mittens for anyone. Yes, my God, it was cold. Yes, we were the only people running circles around the jungle gym and swinging the tire swing as far and wide as it could swing. And yes, every. single. person. I know in town drove by, rolled down their windows and laughed. A lot.

Anyway, at one point, when I could not possibly push the tire swing one more time, I suggested that we take a short hike to the pond to see if there were any ducks. Was I expecting ducks? Not really, it was 38 degrees and mid-January. Any self respecting ducks should be sunning themselves in South Carolina or wherever they head for the winter. But yet, as we plopped down on a bench and cringed at the cold on our tushies, they appeared. First two ducks, then four, then a loud-mouth gossip announced the arrival of small children, and the flood gates opened. All around us were ducks, hungry, hungry ducks. Ducks used to the constant summer fodder of bread and bagels and leftover picnic lunches.

The kids were enthralled. There were ducks on the land, ducks in the pond, ducks overhead. “Look at all the ducks! Look! Look!” They thought the ducks were all there to say hi. “Hi ducks! Hi!” All I saw were hungry faces, begging for a meal, ducks who in the summer heyday would head as far away from wee ones as they could as their tummies were full and the risk of a stick landing on their heads was high. But in the winter, a human face brought hope. And as we slowly got up and followed the siren’s song of the tire swings, the ducks one by one headed back to their hiding places, calling the soulful cry of the hungry.

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