This morning, right before I left for work, I took Scooter out for a quick walk before I departed for the day. Before we crossed the street that runs in front of our condo complex, we stopped, and while Scooter sniffed at a patch of grass, I watched a mama duck and her baby duck crossing the road. Then, rather suddenly, a car drove by the ducks -- perhaps oblivious to their presense -- and while the mama duck was able to scoot out of the way in time, the baby duck was smashed by the wheels of the car.
The duck's death made an awful sound -- literally like the cracking of an egg -- and I stared in horror at what I'd just witnessed. The mama duck quacked confusedly, but quickly, she wandered off to the side of the road and toward the canal where she was headed, leaving just me to stare blankly at the mashed feathers and blood that had been the baby duck. No one else noticed. Not the car that ran the duck over, not the other cars that sporatically drove by afterward, not the man watering the greens on the nearby golf course, and certainly not Scooter, who just continued to sniff the grass at his feet.
The baby duck's untimely demise has really affected me this morning, and on my way into school, I found myself tearing up over its fate. Even now, as I type this in my office, the tears are welling up again. What saddens me is not so much the duck's death in and of itself, but it was the senselessness of it, which made the baby duck's life seem so inconsequential and insignificant. Granted, it was a duck, so had it been spared, I'm not necessarily sure what it would have contributed to the world, but I suppose it reminded me of all the senseless deaths in the world, both human and non-human.
And this has filled me with melancholy.
Perhaps it's the full moon, or PMS, or just a general feeling of malaise that has been hanging over me for days now, but what I witnessed this morning really upset me. And now I have the whole day to brood on it.
"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player/ That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/ And then is heard no more: it is a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/ Signifying nothing."
-- Macbeth, Scene 5, Act 5