Perseverance, adaptability, survival… family of mallards along the banks of the Hudson, just like us, coping with the realities of the Jersey Side. The father is the one brightly colored, notice how the mother is in-between he and the off-spring. Freud might agree the symbolism is not arbitrary. They all seem to be cleaning themselves, or watching the father do so and learning. The toxicity of the oil and muck that accumulates on thier feathers is unimaginable... but is their survival any less so?
The ducklings do not seem that small. I guess they will be free of the nest come early fall, meet somebody nice down south (mallards may not actually migrate, but if you’re looking for ornithology you’ve come to the wrong blog).
I always think about this particular family, some of its gene pool anyway, have made these Jersey City inlets their home for eons, escaping predators even before they were able to avoid Lenne Lenape hunters or resist the lethal side-effects of the industrial revolution, where they lived on the front lines for its entire rise and fall.
And here in our waters, they still are, just like th waters themselves, early becoming mid-summer, still living their life, still oblivious to what we do except when it comes to adapting to the changes we inflict – the bloodlines of the ducks unable to learn how to clean off oil are no longer here – but even that oil is different, the industry is long gone. Yachts and speed boats docked in the nearby mini-marina probably account for much the current pollution, not to mention the tug boats, barges and luxury liners. And construction, luxury housing and hotels now populate this stretch of bank, between Newport and Exchange, between a mall and surrounding development and the financial district and surrounding development.
There’s a jetty, likely man-made, protruding into the river and is closed off, by a fence. Construction equipment and supplies are all around. The plank these ducks are using is probably results form the construction. The board seems to shimmer, moving with the tide lapping onto the river shore.
We live in a city that has this wonderful view of another city. We live in a city to gaze at a river, ponder a skyline. In the nooks and corners, we see remnants of what use to be here, the nature that still determines our pains and pleasures, that defines the truth of mortality we can only ignore temporarily. Are we not these ducks, possessing experienced obliviousness to the rise and fall of civilization, so we can focus on surviving and helping our loved ones to adapt? All we really can know we know is now.