The other night, as i was taking my dog Gus out, there were Joel and Amanda standing, as they often do, in the middle of the street. There was no traffic, but i still had to stop a few cars and herd the two of them over to the bush they’ve sleeping under. i was talking to them the whole while as my neighbor looked on, quite perplexed.
Joel and Amanda are two mallards who have taken up residency under my bushes for the spring. Every evening they come off the lake and waddle over to the bushes quacking happily at each like an old married couple. It isn’t quite red-tailed hawks and no one is going to set up a webcam to watch them, but they are my ducks and i’ve grown rather fond of them, and everytime i see them in the middle of the street i instantly start to worry. Perhaps this spring they’ll be leading a troupe of ducklings around. i hope so.
Two months ago my Grandmother Gangy died. Her real name was Carolyn but i never called her anything else, and the only time i ever used the name is when someone asked me what her birth name was. To us Grandkids, she was always Gangy. Gangy was a lifelong birder, the type of serious birder who got excited about all the birds in the sky, not merely the flashy birds, the rare birds. She was perhaps happiest looking out the window of her kitchen to see what birds alighted on her little patch of Earth, and the records of the birds she kept during this time, first in College Station and after in Moab, Utah, are nothing short of amazing.
It’s hard realizing that i have no more Grandmothers left. Gangy left behind 4 children a mess of grandchildren, and she got to know here great grandchildren.
So when my wife gets a little embarrassed because the neighbors watch me talking to the ducks outside, or when I’m patiently herding them out of the street i just think of Gangy. I’m not doing these things for her, but rather because of her. She taught us all by example how to recognize the little things, not just birds but all of it, the sunrises, sunsets, quiet nights alone, a good glass of wine with friends, a walk through the woods.
So as sad as i am, i am happy to have known her. Thanks Gangy.