I was pondering as I am wont to do on Autumn afternoons about the meaning of things and I recalled a recent incident that happened a few weeks ago. It was the night of the 16th of October, I believe, and my husband and I had just spent a pleasant evening with some close friends of ours having a nice dinner and watching the second presidential debate at their house in Hesperia. We happened to turn South onto Arrowhead Lake Road (we were always for some reason getting lost in this area). We drove on down the dark and winding road and were considering turning around because we realized we were heading South and needed to head North when we came upon more than 14 or more dead ducks in the right lane of this narrow road.
I realized they must have been run over in the dark. I was wondering about a possible poultry truck that had lost it’s load of live ducks when I saw that there was one lone duck standing uninjured but in obvious shock near his compatriots in the middle of the road. He was standing still and quiet near the carnage but every time I tried to shoo him to one side of the road or the other he would simply come back onto the road. On the right side was a steep hill with scrub brush and on the left was a narrow dirt edge with a high steel fence. I knew I would have to remove him but he wasn’t cooperating. Some cars would stop and ask questions and then move on but two different drivers were kind enough to stop and assist me. One of these kind gentlemen had a flashlight which I sorely needed on this dark night and the other offered to catch the duck for me.
I had no idea what I was going to do with this duck once we caught him. I only knew he couldn’t stay where he was if he wanted to live any longer. So one of my “duck helpers” dove for the duck and on the second try he managed to catch him. He handed him off to me, I thanked him profusely and wrapped Mr. Duck in my hoodie. I bid my two helpers goodbye and got into the car with my husband, Glenn and we drove off. We didn’t know where we would go. It was late and vets were closed and we had two cats at our small apt. We had some idea of asking our friends that we had just left so we headed back there and they told us about a park and a lake nearby that the ducks probably wandered away from.
So we got back in the car with me holding the duck near my body and he, poor guy, was gently nestling his bill into my neck in exhaustion with his little eyes drooping. We headed on back to the park on that same road and realized what probably had happened: The ducks wandered away from the park at night on that dark and lonely road and nestled together in a sleeping huddle on the warm asphalt until they were suddenly run over by a large truck or something…because they were asleep, they never had a chance to fly away.
Even tho the park was closed, I said goodbye to Mr. Duckworthy (a duck worthy to be saved) and lifted him to the top of the park fence. He flew down to the other side and with a few backward glances and a couple of quacks he waddled off to his other friends and the lake nearby. I then knew I would never forget my new friend and that we were meant to turn the wrong way down that lonely road…to meet and save Mr. Duckworthy…..