There are no cute ducks in my back yard.
The first time ducks flew into our yard and decided to take a swim in our pool, I thought it was cute. We don’t get much wildlife in our corner of suburban sprawl. At the time my twelve-year-old and fifteen-year-old dashed out, happy to leave homework behind.
When life lessons fly into your yard
As we approached the pool, the rather plump duck seemed to be swimming around and bobbing up and down, unlike the usual duck that paddles smoothly across the water. I blushed deep crimson as my high schooler and I realized the same thing at the same time. There wasn’t one plump duck – there were two, one male atop a female’s backside. And they were, well, engaged, in a sort of natural way, moving quite noisily and insistently across the shallow end.
“How cool, duck sex. Wait till I tell my friends.”
“That’s not sex. That’s duck porn,” another sibling corrected.
“Mom, quick, let me have the camera.”
“Is that how it really happens, Mom?”
“Mom wouldn’t know.”
“Of course Mom would know. How do you think we all got here?”
Clearly we are city people.
Ducks are like swimming pigeons
One side effect of having ducks in your yard, is they are swimming pigeons – they love to leave their messy mark all over the place. After scrubbing the cool decking every time they ‘visited’, we took turns running and shooing any ducks out of our yard. Still, on a seasonal basis, ducks seem to adopt our yard as a temporary stop to wherever the next one is. The last two weeks have been duck season at our house.
When my kids were young, we fed the ducks at the park, watched them glide smoothly across the pond near the entrance to the zoo, and of course we read the children’s classic Make Way for Ducklings. Bath time included yellow, rubber duckies a la Ernie on the children’s television show Sesame Street. “Rubber Duckie, you’re so fine. And I’m lucky that you are mine.” As Easter approaches, cute ducks make great photo ops for families with young children. Some parents naïvely buy cute ducklings as presents for their kids, only to Google ‘how to get rid of ducks’ two months later.
There is a time and place for everything
As with many things in life, there is a time and place for everything. Part of living longer is gaining the wisdom and sensitivity for anticipating these issues.
What works well, be it a joke, story, food or other life issue in one situation, can be a big fail in the wrong situation or with the wrong group of people. Just think of crossing cultures where innocent phrases or actions can be an unpardonable faux pas in another country. Even writing a book or building a presence on social media is all about “finding your tribe.”
Ducks are great in nature, at the park, and at the zoo. I’ll eat duck-shaped chocolate at Easter time, or perhaps an order of duck à l’orange at a celebration dinner.
But trust me, there is no good time or place for ducks in my back yard.
Happy Easter if you celebrate the holiday. And may all your ducks either be in nature or come in chocolate.