During today’s run along the Central Canal Towpath, I saw two ducks wildly splashing in a tail spin. One duck was clearly dominating, but both violently stabbed at one another with their beaks. It was gut instinct to break it up, and not knowing what else to do, I started clapping loudly in hopes it would spook them.
I learned about how clapping scattered birds when I was a kid. My grandmother has a great tree in her front yard. I remember how it would fill up with black birds. I never knew what drove her so crazy about them—their cacophony of twitters and caws, or the blueberry-stained droppings they left all over. She’d go after them, “CLAP, CLAP, CLAP” and they’d take fright-flight, startled up into the sky, the sound of hundreds of flapping wings.
So I stood on the banks of the Canal, “CLAP, CLAP, CLAP.”
The ducks just kept circling after each other, thrashing their wings in the water. A female duck tried to intervene, with slight beak nudges to the two fighters. There was biting of tails and wings, then the stronger of the two started taking the other down, plunging its head under water.
Horrified, I thought, I’m going to stand here and watch this duck murder happen. Is there something I can throw toward them? Should I jump in?
I cracked my hands together harder and faster, until my hands hurt from clapping.
Finally, the submerged duck managed to get his head back up for air. They nipped and splashed a bit more before the weaker bird broke free.
And this is why I can’t watch nature programs. Universe, sometimes I can’t handle your cruelty. One day you make my heart swell with beauty and goodness, then you crush me with your harsh realities.
Namaste, C’est la vie.
This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Prompt: “Put Down Your Blog… And pick up a pen! Or pencil. Heck – we’d settle for a crayon. You don’t have to stay in-between ruled lines, but we do want you to write something by hand. Sure, a letter comes to mind. But so does a recipe you discovered this year. A poem. A series of tweets that is a poem. A contract with yourself – or someone else. Whatever you get on paper – write it, then photograph & blog it. Cursive or manuscript, we promise not to grade on penmanship.”