If I hadn’t traveled so much, if I’d realized what was happening, if I’d figured out which duck, whose eggs, how much food, was it the food, did the oyster shell work, was it too late anyway? But to my stinging, still lingering regret, I didn’t ask the right questions or get the right answers. Peep died. And, since this a family-friendly blog not premium cable, I’ve decided not to share the painful point-by-point. If you’ve ever owned poultry, you’ve probably been through something similar. It’s not pretty.
Of course, we tend to treat our ducks more like feathered people than poultry. The girls get emails on their hatchdays. They enjoy tons of personalized attention and top-shelf accommodations. They’re on the Internet—oh, wait, everyone’s on the Internet—scratch that! What I mean is, they’re not just ducks, small “d”, they’re Puff, Gladys, Bonnie, Fannie and, until last Saturday, Peep. We raised them from two-day-old hatchlings delivered by US Mail in a ventilated cardboard box. We know their moods, their calls, their tendencies, their quirks. We didn’t lose a duck, we lost a backyard champion worm-forager. We lost some pleasure when exasperation meets laughter. Gladys lost a sister.
Five wonderful ducks waddled out last week. Later that day, only four came back. But the garden doesn’t grieve, it grows– as long and strong as it can. For in the abundance of summer, winter is waiting. So back to work! There’s surely lots to do; growing stuff is like that.
Meanwhile, I imagine it might take time before I stop looking for a missing duck whenever I glance out the kitchen window.
Maybe I always will.
Copyright 2013, Lori Fontanes