Yesterday as I was taking the girls to school, the truck in front of me hit a duck. He was waddling happily along with his feathery white friends one minute, crossing the road from a morning dabble in a ditch puddle, and the next was flat on his back, small webbed feet paddling the air, his wings flapping weakly, widespread at his sides.
I managed to straddle him with my car, but felt bad, nonetheless. Ducks are pretty, after all, if not so bright. On the way home, I fully expected to see him still in the other lane, if perhaps a bit flatter courtesy of other drivers. Instead, as I turned the curve, there he was, sitting upright in my lane, painstakingly dragging the small feathered boat of his body toward the grass at the side of the road. He listed a bit to starboard.
I was tempted to finish him off, I’ll admit. Even if he didn’t have any internal injuries (which was unlikely), what kind of a life would he have now, with at least one leg broken? Toppling over when he stands up? Swimming in circles? Turning somersaults in the water when he tries to dive? I couldn’t bring myself to do it, even though I knew he’d likely die in the rain and cold before the day was over. Then, of course, I felt guilty the rest of the day for leaving him to suffer.
Truth is, though, somedays we're all ducks.