Honey may be gone

Except for a day or so a while back, my duck Honey has been at the pond every day for her 7 a.m. breakfast and 3 p.m. dinner, and comes swimming to me rapidly when she hears my whistle.

This morning, looking forward to a quiet communion with the girl, I found she had disappeared.  I’m hoping this is just a temporary absence, but she may have flown away, as did Daisy the other day. I noticed yesterday that, after her usual postprandial preening, Honey flapped her wings vigorously, and they were large, full-sized wings. That means, of course, that she’s flight-ready, and that means she may head off soon. I’ve noticed she’s been increasingly skittish and constantly looking around—even if there’s nothing to see—and I wonder if that’s pre-migration jitters.

Anyway, if she is gone for good, here’s the last photo I took of her, swimming by the lily pads yesterday afternoon. (They’re convenient places to put corn as she can gobble up a lot at once without having to dabble, though one needs good aim to throw the corn onto the vegetation.) You can see a few grains of corn on the pads.

With apologies to Thomas Wolfe:

A duck, a leaf, an unfound door; of a duck, a leaf, a door. And of all the forgotten feathers. Naked and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb we did not know our mother’s face; from the prison of her flesh we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth. Which of us has known a duck? Which of us has looked into a mallard’s heart? Which of us has not remained forever pond-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone? O waste of loss, in the hot mazes, lost, among rippling waters on this most weary unbright cinder, lost! Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a duck, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When? O lost, and by the wind grieved, duck, come back again.

16 Comments

  1. Randy schenck
    Posted August 19, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    That’s very good and true. You can’t go home again.

  2. Heather Hastie
    Posted August 19, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    If she’s gone, you know that her future’s all the brighter and better assured because of your care and attention over the months.

    When it comes time to nest again, I imagine she’ll want to come back.

    You’re both empty-nesters right now.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 19, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    We all have to face the empty-nest syndrome eventually, boss. But you’ll always have WEIT. Round here, we’re all “Jerry’s kids.” 🙂

    • dabertini
      Posted August 19, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Perfect way to end the post by PCC(E). Perfect comment, Ken.

  4. Jenny Haniver
    Posted August 19, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Well, now you can take your leftover Tasty Grubs 100% Natural Dried Mealworms and your Tasty Grubs Black Soldier Fly Larvae and make some grub for yourself a la Suisse http://www.goodfood.com.au/eat-out/news/bug-burgers-go-on-sale-in-swiss-supermarkets-20170816-gxxf58. Mmmmmm. Please share recipes with your readers.

  5. Mary Drake
    Posted August 19, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Will she be likely to return when it is time for her to lay eggs? I know you probably wouldn’t be able to recognize her, but it is nice to think that she might come back to the same pond.

  6. rickflick
    Posted August 19, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if she’s just playing hard to get.

  7. Posted August 19, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    The Going
    (abridged)
    with apologies to T. Hardy

    Why did you give no hint that night
    That quickly after the morrow’s dawn,
    And calmly, as if indifferent quite,
    You would close your term here, up and be gone
    Where I could not follow
    With wing of swallow
    To gain one glimpse of you ever anon!

    Never to bid good-bye
    Or lip me the softest call,
    Or utter a wish for a word, while I
    Saw morning harden upon the wall,
    Unmoved, unknowing
    That your great going
    Had place that moment, and altered all.

    Why do you make me leave the house
    And think for a breath it is you I see
    At the end of the alley of bending boughs
    Where so often at dusk you used to be;
    Till in darkening dankness
    The yawning blankness
    Of the perspective sickens me!

    Well, well! All’s past amend,
    Unchangeable. It must go.
    I seem but a dead man held on end
    To sink down soon.. O you could not know
    That such swift fleeing
    No soul foreseeing—
    Not even I—would undo me so!

  8. Mark R.
    Posted August 19, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Wouldn’t it be cool if you could track her? It would be interesting to follow her travels; plus, you would still feel somewhat connected.

  9. Jenny Haniver
    Posted August 19, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    What follows is a hastily cobbled together adaptation of part of a stanza from “The Memory of Mr. Oldham,” by John Dryden. This perhaps could be titled “The Memory of Ms. Honey.”

    Farewell, too little and too lately known,
    Whom I began to think and call my own;
    For sure our souls were near allied, and thine
    Cast in the same warm-blooded vertebrate mould with mine.
    One common note on either lyre did strike,
    And knaves and fools and interloping ducks we both abhorred alike.
    To the same goal of eating did both our meetings drive;
    The last set out the soonest did arrive.
    Thus mealworms fell upon the slippery place,
    While you, young friend, performed and won the race.
    O early ripe! to thy abundant store
    What could soldier fly larvae have added more?

  10. Posted August 19, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Google says mallards live from 5 to 10 years, so maybe she’ll be back, and she might even reward you with a brood of her own ducklings to feed.


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