Ducks: Thrill Seekers? You Decide.

Picture from a fabulous blog called the Dark Creek Chonicles which you can find here:http://darkcreekfarm.blogspot.co.uk

Picture from a fabulous blog called the Dark Creek Chonicles which you can find here:http://darkcreekfarm.blogspot.co.uk

So: is being chased a thrill?

Danny Bonaduce, American TV and radio personality, thinks so. “There is nothing,” he once proclaimed, “like turning on the radio and listening to the high-speed chase that you’re leading police on.”

Prince William has a different take on the theme: “Only mad girls chase me,” he is heard to have commented once.

Anyone remember Kit Williams? The jeweller/storybook writer who buried a treasure and made his book, Masquerade,  the clue-stuffed key?  He continued to make beautiful, haunting art suffused with story. in 2001 he used old Chinese records to reconstruct a ‘south pointing chariot’ – a legendary cart once belonging to the Yellow Emperor, Huang Di, which had an indicator which would point south, no matter which direction the carriage was headed.

On Williams’ version, heavy with symbolism, there was a painting.

It featured a woman, holding a hoop though which a dog chased a rabbit.

Picture from usbornefamilytree.com/

Picture from usbornefamilytree.com/

“The hoop is there,” Williams once said in an interview, ” to remind us not to jump through it, not to submit to someone else’s control. The dog and the rabbit are telling us not to chase unattainable material goals.”

It seems like only yesterday that I was wringing the hearts of readers with stories of refugee ducks. Macaulay, and every other dog walking in the forest, loved to chase them. The dogs are generally way too fat and privileged to actually catch them but they do, regularly, relocate them. And on my cycling adventures to the local shop, I noticed that a duck and two drakes had set up a comfortable residence in the local housing estate in preference.

So Mac and I, we go up to the forest every morning and every evening. And I noticed that far from running away, the ducks were beginning to flaunt a strange habit indeed. For their place of repose, instead of choosing one of the many out-of-the-way haunts available, they were selecting the main forest path, a great wide veritable highway of human and canine activity.

We’d emerge on top of the fort to see them, sitting. Could it be? Were they waiting?

Mac’s eyesight isn’t what it was, and he would spot them late; but as we got close he would perform the obligatory charge and the ducks would wait until the very last-minute and then take off and fly in a lazy circle around the fort’s flat top.

And they would alight somewhere just as outrageous further up the path.

The ducks which did this were only drakes. Lady ducks did not seem to go in for it. In fact one day I came across five drakes, all waiting on the path for some mutt to bring a little colour to their lives.

It is just possible that those drakes are using local dogs to provide a little interest during long, boring duck-based days. Possibly, sitting on ponds is not enough any more. Perhaps the conversation of the lady ducks is not what it once was.

Whatever the reason: it looks for all the world as though they’re playing “chase me, chase me.”

And that picture of Kit Williams keeps running through my mind. Switch the rabbit for a duck and one is not chasing unattainable goals any longer. Instead, the goals have become coy and coquettish and they’re almost so attainable, they lose their piquancy.

Is that what goals are? Attractive, only because they do not belong to us? Would they become stale once they were ours?

Perhaps all the fun is in the chase.

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45 thoughts on “Ducks: Thrill Seekers? You Decide.

  1. You’ve whetted my appetite to revisit the work of Kit Williams. Lovely post, Kate. My total lack of ambition has saved me from too much hoop work, but the hoop is always there as I yearn for some new, but unattainable goal.

    1. In the fretwork below the painting , Williams has the same figures, the rabbit and the dog; only the dog has gone to sleep. One yearns for such contentment, the ability to turn one’s head away from goals and simply snooze.

    1. I think you are right on both counts, Madhu. Perhaps we are chasing what we want to be just as much when we try to acquire possessions.

      And now I must keep an eye out the next time, to see if the lady ducks are watching from the sidelines.

    1. I’ve stayed at the Peabody in Orlando on business trips, Lou. I always thought the presence of the ducks was a deft touch. I also like the carved duck soaps — and would bring them back for my colleagues. Duck’s pretty good for dinner, too.

      1. I thought the Peabody Hotel ducks only paraded in Memphis. When you mentioned Orlando, too, as a venue, I thought you were cuckoo. You weren’t.

        I learned something new.

  2. I wrote about Kit Williams and Masquerade here:
    http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2010/09/11/fun-with-words-masquerade/

    With the help of a DOG, the treasure hunter found the GOLDEN HARE. How’s that for jumping through the right hoop?

    And how’s this for an anagram:
    KIT WILLIAMS = I WILL MASK IT!

    As for your philosophical musing at the end . . . it is the chase, the hunt, the acquisition that makes most of us happy. One we possess the object we’ve sought after, we must find something new to chase.

    Until we realize that there is no reason to keep jumping through hoops. It is enough just to be.

      1. The hoop we’re jumping through today . . . rebuilding the shower sill with all manner of tile, grout, adhesives, marble.

        Once we possess a watertight seal, we will contentedly float about once again.

  3. We had a drake as a pet when I was a child, as he had half a drum to swim in and the other half made his ‘house’ we called him Diogenes.

    Goals may be just that elusive…. I need to go think with a vase of wine. me thinks

  4. That dog looks like a dark Irish Wolfhound, and those beautiful beasts can run all day if given a chance. My guess is those drakes just ran him aground. 🙂

    1. That particular wolfhound, if I am brutally honest, comes from a fabulous blog credited above and has ben trained not to chase the ducklings because he lives with them. Isn’t he being good?

  5. Perhaps the fun is in the chase! I had an injured goose issue the other day. It involved a wildlife officer asking me over the phone if I could contain it. Errr. No! Just come get it! I am over the chase…

  6. “Perhaps all the fun is in the chase.” I don’t think you need to be a sitting duck to see a lot of truth in that statement, Kate. I’m now at the stage in life when I wouldn’t mind catching what I’ve been chasing. I’m going the way of Mac — eyesight is not what it was, the hearing’s been semi-shot for years, and I’ve lost a step. Now, after writing this comment, I’m almost ready for a nap.

  7. There’s a cute little farm near my granddaughters’ home and we go from time to time, but the ducks and geese chase us, nipping and honking and I’m really a little afraid of them. LOL! They’re having the fun in that chase! I’m not sure how I’d answer your musings today. I know there have been other seasons in my life when chasing a dream or a goal was incredibly important to my well-being. And the chase often did trump the realization for thrill factors. I feel rather “settled” at this stage of my life…hope that doesn’t mean I’m boring, because I’m not bored. 🙂 I may have to think about this for awhile, Kate. Hmmmm.

    1. He is an intriguing soul, Penny. I am still undecided how his art makes me feel. Masquerade was visually stunning but the subliminal messages were so prolific my poor unconscious often ended up feeling bewildered.

    1. No, quite. Though our ducks here seem not to care two hoots. Or two quacks. I think the dogs round here are fat overprivileged munchhounds. They couldn’t catch a duck to save their lives, and the ducks know it.

  8. Those ducks have the life. They get a lift on the lift and then a quick walk to a swimming hole. Lovely. Thank you. (Our Cocker Spaniel, Rusty, used to love to give chase to rabbits … long after they were gone.)

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