Quack-quack-quack-quack-quack! There they go again, the mallard in the lead up the slope toward a neighbor’s front yard. Orange webbed feet list from side to side like tipsy seamen on leave. But perhaps these ducks are tipsy.


Motorists stop as they meander across streets; joggers pause as the ducks sun on the creek bottom; mothers pushing strollers step aside; business men gawk as they parade down sidewalks, their quacks in lockstep with their careening.

It wasn’t always this way. For years we’ve followed their life cycle–spring migration, pre-nesting, nesting, brood rearing, post breeding, molting, and fall migration–all within the confines of the private pond in our neighborhood.

What to make of this anomaly disorienting our ducks, compelling them to leave their shaded refuge in favor of our streets? Perhaps harmful electromagnetic frequencies from the looming cell tower nearby, from our handheld computerized devices, from our hybrid cars, from power lines and transformers, to mention a few.

Lest I lose my orientation like the ducks and traverse barren paths inimical to my individuation, I must stay focused upon the next right step, thereby sacrificing the less than, however attractive. Such discernment works!