What the duck, Chuck?

Good morning, Michigan!

If you have spent any time on these pages, you’ll know it is fair to say that a significant portion of the screen real estate has been dedicated to complaining about all things Michigan. Documenting the weirdness that is this complicated Capital City. Capturing, as best I can, its imperfections. And topping those complaints, in addition to being manipulated into any number of convenient metaphors, is the observation regarding the disastrous state of the roads.

Yes, construction is everywhere. And everyone knows the joke about how orange barrels are the official State tree. So it comes as no surprise that my voice has been added to the chorus of other Mitten dwellers as we are relentlessly bounced and jolted around every time tires hit the asphalt.

Now that the weather has broken, I thought I would save myself the discomfort of bumbling down another misbegotten road in a little green car and enjoy the gentle pleasure of a simple walk. Maybe blazing a new path across the neighborhoods on foot would lead to something; maybe I would be lucky enough to stumble in my red Chucks into some new ridiculous adventure. Something to distract from the usual routine of kicking tin when not engaged in the chase for words.

It was the first truly nice day of a new spring. It was a weekend day so I knew that downtown would be mostly deserted. And I have come to appreciate that urban solitude—it often feels like I have the whole City to myself. Not only does that desolation decrease the odds of being shot in the face significantly, but it also affords the opportunity to take some pictures without the accompanying fear of being either run over, or homelessly heckled.

There was also the tickle to explore that bar. The one I have often walked past on the way to the weird hotel Meijer. The bar sits, diving, down along the river. Its door is usually open and roadhouse music spills into the street. Voices often leak out, that odd mixture of bar chatter and inebriated laughter—just my kind of place. And, having been recently saddled with an “are you kidding me, right now?” cold, I figured some hydration in a dark bar might do me some good.

Tripping through the construction right outside the front door of my rented prison—I guess spring is being celebrated by ripping up a central portion of MLK—I headed east. It felt strange, but somehow liberating, to dance across the many lanes now closed to the traffic. And I had to fight the urge to play amongst the staged piles of pipes and fittings stacked along the boulevard.

The courts and other government buildings were to my right, in the forefront of familiar stacks fingering the first hues of a Saturday night golden hour. Things were suspiciously quiet. Even that sidestreet, normally populated with a more rambunctious population, felt deserted. 

I half expected some cartoony tumbleweed to go rolling past.

Instead, I stumbled into some ducks.

Yes, you read that right. And no, I wasn’t near any significant body of water. The river was still blocks away. There isn’t a proper lake for miles. Amidst the clutter of a downtown’s construction, I did not expect to see ducks happily adrift, swimming and floating about, just doing ducky things

In a Michigan pothole.

And I wonder if that is even the correct term, pothole. Road cavern? Urban Aquatic Development Zone? Potlake?

All I know for certain is that between Shiawassee and Ottowa, there is a section of road missing. One both large and deep enough to comfortably sustain not one, but three pairs of ducks.

The boys drifted lazily atop the water and the girls quaked about on the shore. Which was actually the curb. There was enough wind blowing to create actual waves. Not ones large enough to surf upon. But big enough that they were clearly visible.

It actually stopped me in my tracks once my brain began processing what it was witnessing.

I was standing on a sidewalk, in downtown Lansing on a random Saturday night, watching ducks enjoy themselves. In a road. Not beside a road. Not atop it. But actually *in* the dfucking road.

This is such a strange city. Because even the wildlife here is weird. And don’t even get me started on the shockingly obese Fish Ladder squirrels. Because I told her I would write about the ducks, happily knowing that the universe had granted me the rare opportunity to also send her an unsolicited duck picture. 

It was all so hilariously out of place. A weird juxtaposition of nature and concrete. Wilderness and civility. The ridiculous finding webbed footing amongst the rigidly planned. The logical melding amongst the quakers.

I guess Jeff Goldblum got it right. Because life will find a way. And I guess that it proves that anywhere can be home. Even a Michigan pothole, if you’re ducky enough.

It is, after all, a modern, inclusive world.

One with plenty of room left for unexpected ducks.

About Typewriter Fox

...author, fighter, lover, typewriter fanatic, and unrepentant Fenian bastard. Known to few, hated by many, but still typing the good fight.

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