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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Out, out, brief candle!"

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

17 comments:

David said...

Moments like that can strike any of us and linger, so don't feel like you are alone. Makes one wonder how some are able to be deliberatly cruel and torture people and animals. They must not have that part of them inside that separates humans from primative murderous beasts (on that level).

miss petite america said...

i can imagine i would be as affected as you, witnessing what you did. and when anyone thinks about the meaning of life too much it's bound to put them in a funk. i wonder what the mama duck felt.

Jess said...

Oh man that is a depressing site. I probably would have reacted the same way.

justjunebug said...

i would have bawled my eyes out. then i would have yelled at the momma duck for not caring.

poor duck.

Kim said...

how sad :( poor little thing.

i hope the mama duck went back to her hubby and made some sweet sweet love to have another cute little duck.

Neese said...

awww! damn. poor sweet innocent duck. i'm with you girlfriend i'm teary just reading about it. agh.

Wes said...

Ya know, I hate senseless stuff too. More than I care to admit. When you get right down to it, the duck was victim of Nature, and that my dear, is the natural progression of things. Even in death, the duckling will give back to the world in some way, shape or form.

J~mom said...

I get so upset when senseless things happen. :>(

scott keeps running said...

:(

teacherwoman said...

That is so sad! I have passed both ducks and turkeys on the road when running, I couldn't imagine witnessing a death of one.

Amy said...

Oh man...that's totally sad. No that I'm a mom, those kind of things really get me.

Firefly's Running said...

Oh my, Jess! That's SO sad. I felt a huge shiver in my spine when I read the description. SO SAD! Poor baby duckie. :(

RunningCrazyAfter3 said...

You know...it may just be the situation that I have been placed in...but I really don't look at it as being senseless. There is a reason for everything that happens, even the completely horrible things, and these reasons are just not meant for us to understand at this time.

Sorry you had to watch though. Maybe that was the point - it was meant to invoke compassion in you???

brunettechicagogal said...

Oh, shit; now I am tearing up. And you had to add Macbeth; that quote has such power (although I have never agreed with Macbeth's assessment of this thing called life).

It's awful -- any time a living creature dies, I think it's terrible (OK, I don't think it's terrible when I smash a huge NYC cockroach). I am a firm believer in the power of nature. Eastern religious philosophies make so much sense to me -- so I think it'd be unusual or even abnormal for a human to NOT be sad or disturbed after witnessing the death of another living creature.

Mendy said...

This made me sad too just reading it. So very sad! The mother was just walking her baby, and wham - gone. just like that - that's aweful, and I would have reacted the same way you did Jess. It would have tore me up the whole day. So sad. Poor baby duck, and poor Mommy for loosing her baby.

Paul said...

Man. That sucks, just a result of carelessness. That's why my cats are indoor cats... slightly bored but long lived. :(

Just12Finish said...

Jess - this shows you're human and with a good heart. Every life is precious to me, and I wish everyone went out of their way to treat animals better. I'm no PETA, but I'm no dog fighter either.