A Wild Duck and A Wild Man

Protecting their young ducks.

Protecting their young ducks.

I was going to write about My Brother’s Keeper and do the bibilical background for the story. You can ease drop on the conversation (Genesis 4:8-10) between God and Cain as God confronted Cain about the whereabouts of his brother, Abel, who Cain had killed. Being a smart aleck, Cain responded to God by asking “Am I my brother’s Keeper?”, not knowing that Abel’s blood was crying out to God from the ground. Then I ran across these ducks who captured my attention. Like Moses and the burning bush that was not consumed. I became astonished and ran back for my camera and a little alone time with these Mallards, or “wild ducks (later Canada  Geese, goslings etc.). First I observed how these two ducks went after a third duck and made that duck change the direction she/he was going and went toward the direction these two larger ducks desired. Hmmm. The ducks appears to be loving concern parents correcting a wayward duck. Later I learned that the two older ducks were male mallards and the brown freckled feather duck was a female mallard. The male ducks were using their size and number to force the female duck to go back in the direction she was attempting to escape from. I guess you could call it a form of domestic abuse duck-style.

Then I observed what appeared to be a male duck (later I would learn this was a male Canada Goose) checking out the traffic from both directions of the street. When the street was finally clear of cars and pedestrians, the duck gave the signal and what appeared to be the moma duck (female Canada Goose) and about twelve ducklings(goslings) came from out of the weeded area and crossed the street under the protective eyes of these two adult ducks. I was hooked after several hours and prepared for my interview with these illustrative wild ducks and began to formulate my questions in my mind’s eye.

The police Panama style on duty at a grocery store.

The police Panama style on duty at a grocery store.

How do you feeling abuse police brutality? What’s your opinion on Trayvon Martin, Eric Gardner, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray?  Yes, that Freddie Gray from Baltimore, MD, the same city  back in 1993 which experienced over three hundred homicides, mainly the results of black on black violence. Yes, the same Baltimore, MD that boasted of a population of more than 900,00 citizens in 1950 with 24% of the citizens being black. And finally, yes, the same Baltimore where over 100,000 manufacturing jobs left Baltimore in the later half of the 20th century as the black population “doubled” from 1950 to 1970. Knowing that these duck were migratory in behavior I could not help but wonder did they observed this “white flight” while they migrated from one part of the country to another. I could not help but wonder if the high flying ducks observed the Baltimore, MD that was in transition” before” the riot of 1968 as it experienced the same economic and social evils experienced in Detroit, Michigan,  Gary, Indiana, and other northern American cities going through the white flight syndrome.

With the ongoing debate regarding police brutality and people of color living under duress I could not help but recall the policeman I observed in the Republic of Panama several years ago , protecting a grocery store, (one of many chain stores) owned by the president of the country. Back to the interview questions, how do you feel about our first Black President and what do you think about Michelle Obama’s Commencment Address at Tuskeegee? And can you tell my why Black on Black murders are a national crisis but Blacks Lives Matter “only” when a black man is killed by a white police? I had both barrels loaded and was going to asked these wild ducks about man.. wild, violent and always thinking of evil man at that. But after I did a little research into the duck thing I realized that the duck’s world was just as screwed up as man’s world as the fall of man in the Garden cursed man and the ground.

As I discussed the duck and geese things with others I was informed that in years past black people used geese as “guard dogs” and how the geese would let you know when strangers came on their property during the day or night. At times the geese would actually attack the strangers. A park ranger later informed me how the Canada Geese would attack intruders (including people) to protect their young. I later observed two male mallards actually fighting over a female mallard with feathers going everywhere. It was becoming obvious that a potential interview with these wild ducks was not going to work out well. First and foremost, all the ducks “looked alike.” I know this is frequently how white America describe black America. For years how long have we been told we all look alike. Next my own prejudice was being manifested as I have always been told if it looks like a duck and wobble like a duck and quacks like a duck” then it is a duck. The Canada Goose, the Mallard, and the other members o the duck race proved otherwise.

Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, a National Best Seller, chronicles Black American migration from 1915 to 1970. The problems Black America experienced in Baltimore, Maryland were experienced by millions of black Americans searching for a better life in northern cites all over America. Migration was not just limited to our feathered duck. The migrating ducks faced being shot at and would have faced becoming extinct if laws were not enacted for their welfare. Hmmm… I guess we do have something in common after all.

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