In the rush to get to work

by jexmas on January 28, 2011

I am driving to work on an early Spring morning. I have gone through my usual routine: walk out the door, pull it shut behind me with cup of coffee in hand and computer bag over shoulder. I head towards my car, unlock the passenger side, put my coffee in the cup holder, put my bags on the floor on the passenger side, shut the passenger door, walk around to the other side, open the driver’s door and get in. I back out, occasionally having to give way to someone crossing behind me, drive to where the driveway (and the rubber), meets the road and launch myself into the morning.
I head down the hill, turn right, turn left and drive over a small bridge crossing a creek that flows out into San Francisco Bay maybe a mile further down.
On this day, a few cars are ahead of me and, like me, the drivers are oblivious to what’s around them. We’re all just trying to get to work. Some movement catches my eye and, immediately to the right of the cars, in the narrow space on the roadway next to the raised sidewalk, is a duck and her tiny, fluffy duckling, a few days old. The cars just drive right on by while the duck frantically tries unsuccessfully with her bill to push the baby up onto the sidewalk. In those few seconds, I take in the scene and feel my outrage building that the cars are not stopping and the drivers don’t care if they run over the mother or the baby.
As I get closer to where the duck and duckling are struggling to escape the huge wheels, I stop my car.
In the middle of the road. And stop the traffic.
I open the door, get out of my car and leave it there in the middle of the road with the line of cars getting longer behind it by the minute. I run around to the rescue. The duck, terrified, takes off and flies through the railing of the bridge to the water below, quacking loudly. The baby is flapping its little wings trying to jump up onto the sidewalk. One of the cars honks its horn and I glare at its windscreen because I cannot see the driver, only the reflection from the morning light.
I bend down and pick up the duckling and, running across the bridge, carry it with me down beside the pylon to where the mother is anxiously paddling and quacking. I put the baby down in the grass by the edge of the water and watch as the mother comes over and fusses around this tiny little creature. I stand there, hoping I have not contaminated this baby in a way that will drive the mother to abandon it.  Instead, the duckling pushes off into the water, paddling directly into its mother’s safe harbor.
I run back up to the roadway and one of the drivers rolls down his window and thanks me. I get in my car and drive off.
And it’s just another day.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jim Weiland April 8, 2011 at 11:20 pm

It may have been just another day for you, but not for the ducks—especially one, for whom this day may have been it’s last…

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