Monday, July 9, 2012

Duck, Duck, Nutria?

On Friday, I walked to the park at the end of our street.  This would not merit comment, except that I haven't been able to walk that far (again) since the stress fracture in my foot in April. The unpredictable changes of chronic illness do have a way of teaching one not to take everyday blessings for granted.

This being Texas, we often keep tortillas on hand along with the sandwich bread and dinner rolls. Usually, I take great care to use leftovers and not waste food, but we recently found ourselves with half a package of stale tortillas in the refrigerator. I determined to feed them to the ducks,* but I never could get to the pond to carry out the plan, so there the tortillas sat on a bench in the hallway, stale growing staler.

Finally, Thursday I walked to the park successfully without foot pain.

The tortillas were still at home.

Friday, I walked and remembered why I was headed to the park in the first place.
The large mammals (technically, rodents) are nutria. They are not indigenous to our area but have thrived since their arrival.

It amazed me how boldly the animals came to me and how close they came. All these images were taken on my phone, i.e., without zoom. Is this how Adam felt when God brought the animals to him to receive their names? One duck even approached and sat before me with head cocked, just as Ebony does when he's waiting for a treat.

While I framed one photo, there came a tap on my shoe. I jumped and looked down. This little fellow was apparently sniffing the new breakfast machine. (He had jumped too.)

I hadn't ever noticed their webbed feet until I was processing the photos.

My grandmother Nonni used to take my sisters and me to feed the Trinity River ducks every year on our summer overnight visit to her house. She saved her stale loaf ends in the freezer until we came. Has it been that long since I slowed down to enjoy God's creatures this way?

I went to the park expecting to give, receiving nothing in return but the knowledge I hadn't thrown away unused food. I was wrong.

Joy followed me home.

*Ebony would have enthusiastically disposed of the problem, but he's part Lab. His appetite far exceeds his nutritional needs. The ducks seemed a better choice.

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