Lunch Meet At Ballona Creek

My company moved to its new work space almost a year and a half ago.  One of the first things I noticed about our building was that it was mustard colored:  a bright, condiment yellow.  By itself that was prodigious.  But another thing that was notable was that it were located by a creek.  It was girdled by concrete, true, but it was a creek regardless.  A sign close by even confirmed the fact:  Ballona Creek.

I walk by it every working day.  In the autumn and winter the rain makes it thrilling and torrential.  In spring it relaxes into a mild, green current.  In summer, well, sediment is pretty too.

One day, months and months ago, I was walking to work and approaching the bridge that spans over the creek.  I look into the creek always, an innocent tryst born of curiosity and hope.  But this time I noticed that someone else was doing the same thing.  And something must have grabbed his attention, because he had paused:  he was watching something.

Now, I don’t know why I spoke to him:  perhaps it was, as I recall, a Friday – and on that special day I was more likely to approach a fellow-creature in a rare fit of celebration and friendliness. Anyway, I asked what was of such gripping interest, and he pointed towards the creek.   There were four female mallard ducks waddling in the shallows towards – as far as I could make out – the San Diego Freeway.

We happily watched their progress for some time before I had to continue my walk to work.   I spent the rest of the day in happy speculation:  what were they doing there?  How did they get there?  What were their plans for the day?  Were they on a lady-ducks’ day out?  Perhaps on their way to meeting some friends for lunch on the banks of Ballona Creek – or further on, where it empties into the Santa Monica Bay?

Whatever their plans were, it must have pleased them, because even now I swear that I heard them softly, contentedly, quacking to each other.



6 responses to “Lunch Meet At Ballona Creek

  1. you had us at sediment can be pretty.

  2. What a lovely duck story… I love watching ducks quack with each other and wondering what kind of gossip they seem to be sharing. 🙂

  3. “There were four female mallard ducks waddling in the shallows towards – as far as I could make out – the San Diego Freeway.”

    Reminds me of the book Make Way For Ducklings:

    This being the internet era, you can see it on Youtube:

    although I have to say the lady reading it goes much too fast and lacks feeling in her reading (I know my daughter would be unimpressed if I read like this)- however you can view all the illustrations, which are worth seeing.

  4. I only recently (like, in the last five years) learned that there’s a name for the sort of ducks who feed with their tails tipped up – “dabblers”. The next time you’re inclined to describe yourself as a dabbler in this or that, remember that!

  5. TeamG – As the weather becomes drier and drier, the creek becomes more and more syrup-y. Sediment would be an understatement!

    Barbara – A duck sighting is always cause for celebration. I love their soft discussions.

    The Haunted Shoreline – I remember this book very well! This reminds me of what happened in England, long ago – we were on tour, and our bus had suddenly stopped in the middle of the road. Our driver put on the bright lights and was flashing them into the eyes of the oncoming traffic. Why? There was a family of ducks crossing the road. We passengers were delighted and proceeded to give him a round of applause.

    shoreacres – When I first saw a pair of ducks feeding with their tails up I remember thinking, ‘How rude! How delightful!’ I never thought I would learn the proper term for such an improper act – I hope to sometime meet those little dabblers again!

  6. Living in the country I get to have those moments on a daily basis. This week I got to stop for pigeons feeding on the road, ducks walking down the road, and to ponder a sad cow bellowing, and watch the dawn rise and the birds wake to song.

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