Stop, Duck, and Roll / by Courtney Mehlhaff

I just have to share this, because it truly was one of those gifts from above that I will treasure always.  The other morning I was waiting at the bus stop, and I saw this group of ducks fly overhead.  There are always tons of them hanging around the pond at the nursing home nearby, presumably plotting their escape from this soon-to-be frigid wasteland.

So a few of them come in for a landing on the grass right in front of me, except the lawn slopes downward pretty steeply.  And one of the ducks apparently misjudged the incline, because instead of gliding in gracefully, he crashed.  This isn't the funny part.  The funny part is that after crashing, he rolled, about three or four times, down the hill, and all I saw were these two little orange duck feet splayed in the air, going end over end.

And then, when he finally skidded to a stop and righted himself, I swear he looked around to see who was watching . . . and saw me, doubled over laughing.

I wanted to say, "Dude, how could you screw that up?  Landing is like your only job in this world.  Fly, land, quack, swim, eat, poop on unfortunate people and objects, and look good stuffed.  We don't ask much from your species.  Hell, we didn't even make Donald wear pants!" 

But I think it was Mother Nature's way of saying, "Eh, we don't always get it right, either."  I find that reassuring.  I'll try to remember it the next time I have my own crash landing on the ice.  That duck will hopefully be long gone by then, but if he's not, I hope to look up from my crumpled heap and see him giving me mad webbed props from across the street.