Today, during lunch I observed some unusual behaviour. I went for my normal lunchtime walk, this time visiting a pond near the JFK Memorial within Treasury Gardens in Melbourne. It is very nice as you can see below. Note the bench seats that feature further down in the post.
Even though the park is not a naturally occurring environment, there are still plenty of wild birds that live there. I noticed last week that a few native ducks had given birth to ducklings, and I was keen to check on their progress. As I approached the pond, I quickly noticed the little ducklings and their mother basking in the sunshine on the stone edging of the pond. I stopped about 2 metres (6″) away from them and just watched and began to enjoy their ducky antics. A big smile formed on my face as about 20 small ducks that had just finished grazing on the lush grass in the park, made their way to the pond in a big group. This group split like the Red Sea around my legs, oblivious to my presence, and proceed to jump into the pond looking for water bugs and the like.
Just as the last duck had jumped in, a Suit, sporting an iPod with music blaring, tried to rush past and would have stepped on the still dozing ducklings, if I hadn’t called out to him. He jumped in fright probably because he was in his own little bubble, stopped, swore at me, then swore at the ducks! What right did the ducks have to be in his way when he was obviously in such a rush to eat his lunch and get back to his mundane existence? What a prat! Such an apathetic attitude grinds my gears. No wonder the planet is in such a mess with his ilk around.
Anyway, iPod arrogant people aside, the ducks had the last laugh. A splinter group of 3 of the small ducks formed off from the main group seeking more food. Next to the pond were two bench seats made of wooden slats. Some female humans were eating lunch and were talking loudly about general consumerism and crap they were going to buy for Christmas on their credit cards. Perfect targets for ducky activists seeking a little payback for duck kind. As these humans were so engrossed in themselves and indifferent about the environment about them, they never saw it coming. Two of the small ducks waddled under the bench searching for spiders and other insects. There must have been rich pickings because they started pecking at the bottom of the bench rapidly. So rapidly in fact, that they both reached in-between the slats of the bench seat and pecked the two ladies simultaneously on their derrière. The yelp and scream of terror could be heard across the gardens! The splinter group scampered back into the pond for safety sake, and swam back to the main pack.
As the screams from the unsuspecting victims died down, another loud raucous began. It was me, pissing myself laughing at the spectacle. The two ladies then stared daggers at me, as if it were my fault and stormed off in a huff. Once my sides split and the ruckus died down a little, I took stock of the situation. It suddenly struck me. This was not just about ducks, but nature as a whole. Our apathy towards it should be a cautionary one as it is more powerful than us. The environment is not some abstract place out there somewhere. We are a part of it, but most cannot see the forest for the trees, or in this case, the ducks.
I came to the sobering conclusion.
“Nature always has the last laugh, irrespective of the actions humans take, or the indifference they give it.”