Back in the saddle (not literally). Slept through a million odd dreams, hours’ and hours’ worth. Woke up feeling more like myself. Dressed for the pasture. Greeted the dogs. Checked my mail. Put my phone in my pocket and my hat on, shooed the dogs out the door and closed it firmly behind me.
Then realized that I did not have my keys.
G was gone, babysitting while Cam took Lorri to the airport for a very early flight. So I looked for the Hidden Key. The Hidden Key has been hidden in the same place for about twenty years. I hadn’t realized till that moment: the same place is now deep under the new family room. Good thing it was a beautiful spring morning.
But that is not the promised story. Here it is: this is before I left for SF. It was, in fact, Sunday last. G was sitting by the fire, reading, when he heard a strange little scrabbling sound coming from the stovepipe cleanup door. (Have I mentioned that we heat the house with a natural gas free-standing stove? We do. And the cleanout door is a tiny door at the base of the back of the chimney. And the chimney is in the new room.)
“Hmmmm,” he said to himself. “It sounds like something’s in there.” It was a reasonable conclusion, considering that a starling had fallen down that chimney once years ago. I, myself, would have been scared it might be a rat (in spite of the fact that there is no precedent for that whatsoever). But he, having a healthier imagination, went in and opened that tiny door just a wee bit for a look-see.
The first thing he saw was this eye. This bright, round, worried duck eye.
So he closed the door and yelled for me. He found a big, nice bucket for transporting a hysterical duck, and we positioned ourselves.
But G got in the way so I couldn’t shoot him actually putting his gloved mits around the duck and drawing him/her out of that chimney. She/he was flapping a little bit, so into the bucket she/he went – and we took her outside. I’ve decided on “her.” She had smacked her bill against the rough stones on the way down, but her wings seemed fine.
The dogs were not aware of all this and were busily saying vile things to people taking a peaceful Sunday stroll down the street, so we were safe in the back.
And here is our captive. What an odd idea, really. I mean, I can imagine a starling sitting at the top of a chimney and, have been overcome by smoke, toppling into the hole. But a duck? When there’s that whole river in the back yard? Which only goes to show you that people with too much imagination and adventure in their souls can wind up in difficult places.
When that happens, they can only hope their captors are friendly and gentle and kind and will reinsert them into a more pleasant element.
And the only loss? Maybe a tail feather or two.
The last picture, you will have to imagine. That beautiful little wood duck, once Guy had dropped her over the fence into the bracken, was down the bank and into the water in a flash, and then flying straight up river, a foot above the water – wings whipping up a fountain of shining drops. Soon out of sight.
All’s well that ends well.