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The mallard and the plastic…

So, I’m out last night about 5:45 on my daily constitutional.

I cross McMullen Creek where it flows beneath a low spot on Sharon View Road. I look down upon the waters every so often. There’s usually some floating debris but mostly I cringe at the plastic bags or sheeting that cling to branches along the steep banks. There’s no way for me to really reach it. That’s why I don’t look more often.

But last night there was a mallard drake paddling by his lonesome along the bank, and literally, he’s foraging for whatever ducks forage for by

This is the gateway for much of the junk that ends up in McMullen Creek.

This is the gateway for much of the junk that ends up in McMullen Creek.

navigating his way around a large sheet of plastic that is hung up on the bank but is streaming about five or six yards downstream. The Greenhead pokes his head below the sheeting as it goes about its business of feeding.

The larger question is this: why should a mallard (or a teal or any other water bird) have to put up with such invasive materials where it chooses to live? I think my pick-up-your-path practice (already in use in the short length of stream behind my house) is about to extend to larger waterways.

Stay tuned.

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

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