Perhaps I am imposing a romantic narrative onto these oblivious little ducks, but I’ve become quite familiar with and fond of them over the years. There are only ever two of them and they are always–and I mean always–together. Their first arrival of the year is a good indicator that the ruthless winter is finally over–so, as both a symbol of springtime and companionship, I’ve really come to appreciate their visits.
Oliver and Daisy Mallard–as I’m sure they’re actually named–have been floating and feeding around my backyard since we moved into the house several years ago. Having come from the heart of downtown, we weren’t used to such guests (unless you count the pigeons that occasionally crapped on our balcony). At first my dad tried to scare the Mallards away, like we always did the pigeons, but we’d always wake up the next day to find them lounging again (perhaps stubbornly asserting their seniority). Even when we got our dog, Pepino, the couple would calmly leave when he was outside and faithfully return when he was inside.
Now even Pepino and our cat, Grisito, have made a kind of peace with the floating friends. The furry ones just stare at the feathery ones, as if intrigued by their collar-less necks and lack of domesticity.
After a heavy rain, there are sometimes little pools at the foot of some nearby hills. The Mallards have been known to turn these puddles into duck ponds and solicit crumbs from passers-by. Being the only ducks that ever venture this far from Humber river and this close to the noise of the strip mall, they are looked upon with curiousity and respect.
Unfortunately, as the weather gets warmer and my dad adds chlorine to the pool, Oliver and Daisy no longer find it hospitable here (which has to say something about the chemicals we’re swimming in). That’s why, this warm-but-not-too-warm morning in May is the perfect time to write this short tribute to my web-footed friends.
NOTE: It is entirely possible that Oliver and Daisy are not romantically involved. Perhaps Oliver is stuck in the “friend zone” or they’re just unable to leave each other as they wait for Godot.