Sunday, October 18, 2009

Peace Turned Upside-Down

Some time after we moved in the little girl who lived on the pond brought home a few ducklings. Her favorite was the beautiful, white one she called, "Megan". Gray & silver foxes, hawks, & even an occasional visit from a coyote kept the population under control. My own eyes have witnessed Great Blue Herons & large fish pick off ducklings as they swam in line behind their momma. The little girl was very protective, as well as creative & successfully kept away as many daytime predators as possible. This resulted in a run away population. 2 years ago, our highest, confirmed & accurate count was 38 muscovies & 2 mallards: far too many for the 2+ acre lake. It was difficult to fish with the muscovies there, but we so enjoyed feeding the gentle creatures by hand. We came to know many of their individual personalities & we named them. We knew the shy ones & the sneaky ones, the bold & the gentle. As we gained their trust some would climb on our laps to eat from our hand.
Fearful people moved in next to the pond & we lived a nightmare for many months. The mallards took flight & the near-flightless muscovies were easy targets. Children were held captive in their homes as rifles fired pellets through our once peaceful corner of the world. Soon, others joined in the slaughter. Even when presented with a copy of the law, the police simply passed us along from one department to another. Ducks were found beaten & kicked to death leaving bloody trails. We feared what sort of person could do this. We shared Bible studies with the little girl, her family & other neighbors. We sought God's guidance on what to do with bullies & how He could bring us out of this. We wrestled with the difference between righteous & unwarranted anger. We prayed communally for the neighborhood & for God's presence here. Over 30 ducks were killed before the terror stopped. Weeks later, the last to be killed, were shot while roosting in the locust tree that once draped in & out of the water. The gentlest of all, they would climb on our laps to be fed. It was late at night & no one knew I heard them killed as a party game. Another neighbor & I retrieved the bodies long before sun-up on Easter morning, before the little girl would find them.
God provides creative solutions & often with great humor. After the terror ceased, a pair of mallards (unquestionably protected by law) joined Megan's 3 remaining descendants. The mallards now number 7, though the muscovy population has dwindled to 3. Nancy, Poppa & Sister roosted on the grated drain, safely away from natural predators. They became a part of my predawn prayer time. Poppa & Nancy have been missing now for several weeks & there remains one final hint of Megan's white touch upon the life of the neighborhood....a little girl's first experience at mothering.

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