Ah, camping, nature, peace and quiet. Camping was something my children and I did several times a year. Sometimes we would take a road trip to different states and stay in a campground we would find along the way. We carried a large book of national campsites in the car. One memory that jumps out when I think of camping is of my daughters constructing daisy chains in a field near a campground in Kentucky and wearing the daisy chains on their heads. It made me want to cry to see them find something fun and innovative and get in the spirit of the camping trip.
Years later I was camping with friends and family at a membership campground. This campground was large yet each campsite was among trees and natural settings of leaves, bushes, downed logs, and lots of critters. Campers fished in a large lake on which ducks swam and played. I would sit on a bench under trees and read, catching sight of the ducks paddling around in the lake and enjoy the serenity.
One day a large white duck was not keeping up with the flock and was circling slowly in a small area close to the edge of the lake. I watched closely. I called to the duck. I ran back to my campsite and scavenged bread and popcorn to persuade the duck, who I was now calling Trouble, to come closer. He wasn't enticed by the food, but his friends were and soon they were out of the water, waddling and squawking. Fortunately, I had brought lots of bread and popcorn, so I started feeding the ducks and watching Trouble carefully lumber across the grass toward where the action was.
As he approached, I could see what was causing his distress. A fishing hook was caught in his leg and many feet of fishing line was following in his wake. I gasped, frightening the healthy ducks eating out of my hand.
There was absolutely NO WAY I could walk away from Trouble and leave him to his own devices. I ran back to the campsite again, this time to get my brother to help me, and I picked up pliers, first aid kit, and hydrogen peroxide and returned to the lake.
Using the same ploy of feeding the ducks, Trouble tried to join his friends at the side of the lake. As my brother fed the flock, I slowly advanced upon Trouble, gently talking to him. I reached his side and picked him up in my arms and when I looked at the red, swollen leg and the rusty fish hook, I knew it was the right thing to help him.
So with my brother holding Trouble, I never stopped the soothing talk as I used the pliers to pull out the fish hook, then poured hydrogen peroxide into the wound several times. Then I took Trouble out of my brother's hands and I carried him to the edge of the lake, waded in a few feet, set him into the water and wished him well.
During the next few days, my brother would join me in my visits to the lake to see how Trouble was doing. Each time we came to the bench we used to help Trouble, a large white duck hanging back from the rest of the ducks would quack at us. On the fourth day, as we walked to the lake, we could see all the ducks in a row, paddling and ducking and splashing. And one big white duck quacking loudly at us.