In 1964 my husband and I and our three children were living in New York City. We would take regular trips to the country and on one of these jaunts we fell in love with a lakefront property with a large home and boathouse.
We loved the city but felt that the children would be better served in the country, so we bought that property and made the transition to "small town, USA".
It was a culture shock, to say the least, but we loved the sounds and sights of the lake. In many ways it was actually noisier than the city. The night critters kept up a constant hum and during the day we would watch all sorts of water fowl and other wildlife.
We thought we were attuned to these sounds until one Spring morning when we were awakened before dawn by a strange, loud noise. It was difficult to place where it came from. It sounded very much like the rustling of many newspapers.
As the dawn brightened we were able to discern three ducks in the water very close to shore. Two of the ducks were fighting...the thrashing of their wings and their bodies colliding were producing the strange rustling sounds. The other duck was at a discreet distance...aloof to the whole sordid affair and we finally deduced what was happening. Obviously these were two male ducks fighting for the attention of the fair, feathery maiden. We watched in amazement as the battle played out and finally one of the ducks gave up and skulked off. The duck-duel was over and the winner could claim his prize.
I don't know what we expected at this point...perhaps a tender touching of bills or a graceful encircling of two ducks in ecstasy. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The male duck swam behind the female and proceeded to prod and nudge her on her feathered rump. He was anything but gentle as he proceeded to push her along toward the middle of the lake for one and all to see. "After all", he seemed to be saying, "I am the conqueror and to the conqueror go the spoils........"