Back in January, I was offered a position at a California college for Fall 2013 (yeah, this place likes to get their scheduling done way early). I have since moved in with my mother. The town here has a wonderful Norman Romwell-like environment.
No more 130 degree heat during the summer. No more drunks. No gangs, except for the wannabees who do more tagging than anything else. The people in this town are more down to earth and SANE!
This town has been blessed with a beautiful park along the river, home to all sorts of wildlife: squirrels, birds, fish, turtles, lizards, ducks, beavers... There are also many beaches and grassy knolls along the river where one can go swimming.
The park and river is graced with all kinds of shrubbery as well: oak trees, redwoods, ponderosas, cottonwoods, pecan trees, walnut trees, loquat trees, blackberries, currants, mulberries, concord grapes... You can make a freaking salad just by going on a walk along the river!
I was visiting said park last week. The park itself is divided up into three portions within the valley of the river. Two of them picnic areas along the river, covered in the natural tree habitat. But, one of them is a wide open grassy field along the river, consisting of a gazebo, a volleyball court, and a large grassy area for setting down a blanket and just relaxing.
It was within this grassy area that I observed the duck engaged in some, shall I say, inter-species interaction. It was a pet duck, and lived at one of the houses that overlooks the park and river. It had wandered out to the park, just to enjoy it's native environment. I hadn't noticed anything until I heard a sudden commotion! There was the sound of the duck, a small dog barking, and a young lady yelling. Her dog, a dachshund, had gotten up from the young lady's picnic spot and was chasing the poor duck all over the grassy area. The poor girl jumped up and was running after her dog, yelling at it. The duck was running back and forth and in circles trying to shake the dog. (Those of you who own dachshunds can probably picture how comical this was, as dachshunds tend to be little drama-queens.) The duck wasn't running particularly fast, just fast enough, and its quacking sounded like laughter as if it was mocking the dog. It was the funniest thing I had ever seen.
There was a happy ending, as the dog did not get any duck l'orange that day. The young lady was finally able to catch her little dachshund, scold him, and the duck went back home.
I've lived in this area for six months now. I grew up here, and everyday I am reminded of the things I missed during my service at Wolf359: the color green, water, nature, and my sanity.