Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Nice Weather for Ducks

Een Namiddag in de Zon
An Afternoon in the Sun

Each time Miss Yellow Dwarf remembers to shine on the Lowlands I can't stay at home. I can't stand it. Usually I just spend some time cycling around amazed by the chance of being considered a real Dutch. Actually this possibility never occurred. Since today. Listen: things are gonna change. In fact on my way back home to the university campus a cyclist asked me something in Dutch and I understood he was looking for the central station. Applause! I managed to tell him how to reach the station. Ok, I used English, but I pronounced almost correctly difficult road names such as Platolaan, Prins Hendriklaan and Nachtegaalstraat.
The Asking Dutch told me something like "Heel goed" (Very good) and then cycled in the right direction. Standing ovation! I felt Invincible. I was one of Them. Other cyclists waved at me ringing the
Ode an die Freude with Their bells. The kids of Wilhelminapark invited me to play football with Them. Shop sellers along Nobelstraat offered me broodjes and haringen and bottles of Bock Grolsch. Beautiful tall girls blew me kisses from every tiny bridge of the Binnenstad. The Thoughtful Rabbit statue in De Neude (aka Bunny Square) shook my right hand with its left ear. The sky turned orange.

That's why while at home I decided for action. I put a couple of books and a bottle of water in my backpack and I came back outdoors. Then I chose a destination on my mental Utrecht map. Close to my place there is this nice park called Oog in Al. It takes just ten minutes to reach this quiet paradise from where I live, having a view of the most luxury houseboats of Utrecht. According to a poor Dutch-English dictionary, the literal translation of the park name is Eye in Eel. Isn't that poetic?.
Despite of the name you can find no eels there (perhaps they're shy), but moose, goats and plenty of ducks. Especially ducks. Ducks. Dutch Ducks. Quacking around. From green-brown small sized ducks to posh ivory well fed ducks. Oog in Al is a Duck Republic. Yet, all ducks are created equal, but some ducks are more equal than others. The ruling cast of Ivory Ducks allowed me to sit on a kind of deckchair in a quiet lawn looking at a nice pond where green-brown pariah ducks were navigating .

There I began to read "The Low Sky" by Han Van der Horst. Ah, what a pleasure! I was totally relaxed. My mind was peacefully absorbed by the gentle murmur of water. My eyes read through wonderful paragraphs named "It was never completely safe behind the dyke", "Rioters wreck car" or "If people are not satisfied, they blame it on beleid". I wasn't alone. On my left side Mr. Caulfield, an American tourist, was staring at the Dutch Ducks in a very melancholic way. Sat on the grass just behind me Mr. Spinoza from Amsterdam was whispering something about God, Men and Nature while reading the intellectual newspaper Nrc Handelsblad. Eventually they left me alone. I stretched my legs. I yawned and re-yawned. Then I let the Low Sky fall on the ground. I almost fell asleep.

But in the formerly peaceful Duck Republic something was going to happen. The time for loving. The season of courtships. The clash for reproduction. I was going to witness the noisiest (and nastiest) battle in Utrecht in the last four centuries. A real war fought in three dimensions: sky, land and water. Suddenly the Ivory Ducks started to yell, bark, cry or whatever. Then the Dominant Duck decided it was time for having heirs or perhaps he just wanted to take a multiple satisfaction. I don't know if contraception is tolerated among ducks, but I guess it is, considering they're from the Dutch branch. However, as a guest on the shore of the "Thalamus Pond" I couldn't escape. All around me excited and angry ducks were fighting for taking a part in that libertine party. They were using their immaculate wings to hit each other, furiously biting their donaldduckish tails with their sharp beaks. Or even worse. I prefer to censor some intimate details.
Soon the fightings reached my neutral deckchair forcing me to an inglorious withdrawal trying to reach my bike. Yet those fucking quarreling ducks had surrounded my wheeled noble steed. It's time to confess it. I kicked two of them. But gently. You have my word of honor. I love animals. It was the only possible way to leave Thalamus Pond behind. Please don't tell this story to
anyone at Partij voor de Dieren (Party for the Animals). I feel remorse for what I did.

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