McMullen Hall is the administrative building on the campus of Montana State University Billings. It is where all the major and important decisions about the university are made, thus there are a lot of people in and out of the building. Lots of “human” traffic as it is a busy place. With the arrival of spring the campus usually picks up some new inhabitants that are not usually here during the regular school year—wood ducks. The wood ducks replace the wild turkeys that wander around the campus during the school year. This year was no different, with the warmer weather the turkeys went into hiding and the ducks replaced them.
I am not sure where the turkeys wander off to, but for a while the ducks have the run of the campus. They like the irrigation canal that runs through the campus, plus they like the water sprinklers. Either way, I like the wild life that inhabits the campus and I especially like the ducks . . . especially when they have hatched their ducklings. They are a blast to watch.
Now I do not know the pregnancy cycle of the wood duck and nor do I really want to learn. What I do know is that they hatch their young in’s from eggs—they lay on top of the eggs until the little boogers are ready to come out and meet the world. I do not know whether or not the female duck carries the egg around until it is ready to drop—sort of like a woman carries a baby and it is ready to come. If that is the case, then I imagine that whenever that egg is ready to drop that the mother duck drops it wherever it might be. For example, like in a flower bed next to the busiest building on campus. Sort of like the one I have pictured below.
There is quite a debate on campus about the mental health of the duck pictured above. It seems that about two weeks ago it decided that the flower bed in front of McMullen Hall was the place to hatch its brood. So imagine it was just walking around, felt those “birth” pangs coming on, and looked around for a convenient place to deposit her eggs. From what I understand there are approximately four eggs that she is incubating among the flowers. She is pretty oblivious to the world around her as she nestles there among the flowers. She doesn’t bother anyone, and no bothers her. I imagine that if anyone did bother her or her nest they deserve everything that they get.
Typically ducks do not lay their eggs right out there in public for the whole world to see. Why this particular duck chose to do this . . . well, that is the debate. Some folks believe the duck is losing it—going quackers in a way. I don’t agree with that theory. I think this little duck did what it had to do. I think that those little boogers just showed up, demanded a place in the world, and she did what she had to do . . . she plopped them out . . . right there in the flower garden where she happened to be at the time. What else could she do? When Mother Nature calls we all do well to heed her call.
I admire that little duck as she covers her nest. I admire that she did the only thing that she could do and that was to complete the job that she was given. Thus she sits there as the world wanders by, gawking, pointing, and laughing at the absurdity (at least in their minds) of this little duck’s situation. The bottom line, though, is that the duck is doing what she needed to do. I have yet to hear a complaint escape her bill lamenting her situation. I have watched as she tirelessly and patiently awaits the hatching of her brood. And, I have anticipated the day when those little quackers show up. It won’t be long . . . in the meantime, she does what she has to do.
I guess deep down I admire her because she is doing what most of us never do, and that is to deal with our lives and the cards that we are dealt . . . that we just don’t always do what we have to do. Instead of complaining and lamenting . . . she patiently awaits and does her job. I guess she has a lot to teach us all.