A Duck In A Pond

A duck in a pond, a pond near a swamp. Sometimes, the duck walks across the mud from the pond to the swamp and, standing on the edge, looks into the stagnant filth, like a duck Narcissus. On the horizon there are trees – larch, beech, sycamore, pine. Having gazed, unblinking, at its reflection, blurry, blurry, the duck turns about and walks back to the pond, into which it plashes, and often times upends itself, so to a passer-by only its fundament and feet are visible, its head and upper body submerged in the water. When a breeze gusts, as it usually does, the leaves on trees on the horizon rustle. If the breeze becomes a gale, the trees sway. Once the wind grew so strong one of them, a beech, crashed to the ground, its topmost twigs and branches falling into the swamp at the swamp’s edge. Fortunately for the duck, it was in the pond when this happened. The sky was black, for the wind was howling in the night, and there were no stars to be seen, because of clouds. The duck was terrified.

If ever you pass by that pond, chuck some stale breadcrusts to the duck. If you are on your way to the trees, to take measurements, or to carve your initials and those of your sweetheart into the bark on a trunk, be sure to skirt the swamp. Even the stoutest and most voluminous wading boots will not save you from sinking into the murk and slime, glubb glubb glubb. If you take the proper route to the trees, you will pass the memorial garden where stones and piles of pebbles and rugged wooden crosses mark those whose souls the swamp has claimed. The duck has seen some of them, from the safety of its pond, as they sank, flailing and helpless and screaming. It is a traumatised duck.

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