And suddenly, there she was!
Standing tall and proud on the cobblestone steps near the Dana Center, Wiggly was bathed in a band of bright, golden sunlight as she peered over the sparkling, blue waters before her.
"There you are, Wiggly! Oh, my God, where have you been? I thought you were dead!"
But, immediately, the scene changed.
I was in my living room and had briefly fallen asleep for fifteen minutes.
Coming out of the fog, my first thought was that Wiggly was still alive. I had, after all, recently seen her on the steps near the Dana Center, happy, healthy and serene!
It wasn't until I got up and actually started to walk around that I realized I was not recalling memory, but rather a dream.
My heart, which had seemingly leaped to my throat, immediately descended. Back to reality, as the saying goes.
I don't normally dream -- or at least have any recollection of dreams.
That one was so vivid and real as to cause me to still be in it upon awakening was incident rarely experienced over six decades of life.
"Wish fulfillment" Freud would say, no doubt.
Yes, it is a wish that the experiences of the past few weeks would magically disappear and be replaced by not only new attitudes towards the wildlife of our parks, but also the reappearances of both, Honker and Wiggly.
But, the dead cannot be brought back to life and dreams cannot be made into reality.
Or, can they?
I did return to Harlem Meer last night, but the earlier dream did not turn out to be prophetic as much as I might wish (or at least literally).
Empty spaces remained in the marshy places Honker and Wiggly typically stood with their mallard drake boyfriends.
But, the cobblestone steps near the Dana Center were not empty.
The remaining four domestic ducks at Harlem Meer (Cochise, Conner, Connie and Carol) were confidently hanging out on them.
All four stood at the edge of the steps (like Wiggly in the dream) peering out over the lake.
It is difficult to speculate why, in the past few days, the four domestic ducks have taken on this new sense of "adventure" and high risk-taking by leaving the safe, fenced in grassy area on the opposite side of the Dana Center, (where they had been since the beginning of spring) but they have.
And not only are the flightless ducks venturing to the opposite and more public side of the Dana Center (and Harlem Meer) but they are also freely wandering the park lawns at night!
If someone with an off leash dog enters the park, all four suddenly waddle (in a straight line) back to the safety of the water.
This is extremely high risk behavior for ducks who cannot fly.
I am not sure what it means, but am guessing that perhaps the four domestic ducks have simply decided that they don't want to spend the entire summer living in fear and confinement as they did the entire spring.
"Freedom at any cost" seems to be the new motto for them.
Though I am now very concerned for Cochise, Conner, Connie and Carol upon observing this new shift in behavior (as I had observed it in Wiggly and Honker) one cannot deny the joy they are exuding with the new, self-chosen liberation.
One can be quite sure they are aware of the risks of venturing into potentially dangerous territory, but they are obviously opting for living out their lives the way they are meant to be lived as opposed to simply staying "safe" and secure within the confines of a small fenced-in area.
The very last images I have of both, Honker and Wiggly were them freely wandering on park lawns with their mallard lovers.
I hope that doesn't turn out to be the case with the remaining domestic ducks ("last images," that is.)
But, if it does, I will remember that Cochise, Conner, Connie and Carol made the choice to live out their lives according to what came naturally to them and what gave them joy as opposed to what gave them fear.
Perhaps that was the real message of the dream.
Perhaps in another world, Honker and Wiggly are standing at the edge of cobblestone steps, under a band of bright, golden sunlight and peering out over sparkling blue waters.
And they are saying, "Not to worry. We have no regrets." -- PCA