by Wendy Pike
a small brandy
Pootling along a narrow, country lane in my car, I spotted a pretty green bird in the middle of the road ahead. It looked like an upside down duck.
As I drove closer it remained statue still, on its back, crunched into a tiny ball, in a knees to chest yoga pose. It appeared this poor duck’s luck had run out. It’s waddled up to the great duck pond in the sky, I thought.
I told my sister-in-law, who was travelling with me, I didn’t want to make matters worse for the hapless duck by running it over. So I purposely drove right over the top of it, making sure my wheels didn’t damage even a feather on the beautiful bird.
As I checked the rearview mirror to confirm my steering was accurate and I hadn’t transformed the sitting duck into a two dimensional, fowl mess, something most extraordinary happened.
The bird sprung upright onto its feet, making me wonder had the delinquent duck been playing a high stakes game of chicken? Then at top speed, in the style of Roadrunner in a Wile E Coyote cartoon, the nimble bird ran across the road, diving headlong into the safety of the hedgerow.
But there was another even more remarkable surprise. Clearly the dead duck was not deceased. Nor was it a duck but a magnificent, lively, lithe, very lucky pheasant.
It’s a reminder that even when you’re certain things look utterly desperate, the unexpected, surprising or even miraculous, can and do happen. You cannot predict the future. Things are not always what they seem or even how you see them.