The Texas Hill Country is where I call home, and it’s quite a lovely place to be. Here it is in June, and my air conditioner is not on yet, and the cool breezes keep us comfortable all day and night. I have returned to the screen doors of my childhood, only now they are vertically retractable. The good news is they don’t slam, but the bad news is they’re not easily seen and will startle you when you have a cup of coffee in one hand and a muffin in the other, and you don’t see the screen. A strip of tape at eye level helps. So with doors open and screens “pulled,” we are sung to sleep by frogs and crickets, and we are awakened predawn by the chattering of the cardinals and goldfinches. Life is good!
Last time I wrote about heroes in our recent Hill Country flooding and about when to duck or dive or when something simply “ain’t my duck.” Well, wouldn’t you know it? Just when I’m trying to get my own ducks in a row, I have a grand opportunity! We have ducks.
It seems the recent flooding has displaced a family of five ducks who now reside on the front porch of our lower level. They enjoy the seeds scattered by the birds on the feeder above them and other food I toss to the axis deer in the evenings, and I imagine they like napping in the shaded protection provided in this location. Occasionally, they’ll waddle off across the valley to the pond and do what ducks do. Bill has tried to shoo them away even chasing them half way to the pond. They simply followed him home.
Now we have a few issues as you might imagine. The first being they don’t bother to keep the porch floor clean, and more importantly, my morning serenade of sweet chirps has turned into a honking contest. Literally, at 5:45 am yesterday, I started counting. One of them honked 54 times before stopping to breathe. When she (Bill said it had to be the female) stopped, another one started for 41 honks. In case you’re wondering, there is nothing beautiful or musical about honking.
So given that I’m trying to get my ducks in a row, I began pondering this situation. The world is such a place of beauty, like waking to the sound of cardinals and seeing the sunrise over green hills. But then there’s that annoying honking sound – my reminder that for so many, the world is not so beautiful. They know only fear and hunger and pain and loneliness. So what can those of us who live in such a beautiful world do to make a difference for those who don’t? I can’t answer that for you, but I think it might have something to do with cups of water, and visiting the sick and imprisoned, and caring for widows and orphans, and offering help and hope.
Just thought I’d let you know, they “ain’t my ducks” after all because they’re not even ducks. I’ve learned from my neighbors they are Egyptian geese. Their life-spans are around fifteen years, and they’re very territorial, so I think I’d better learn to like honking because duck ala orange is no longer on the menu.