"Alligator Alley" - ink and acrylic on aquabord, 6" x 6". View this piece at Ciel Gallery in Charlotte during the month of October.
Only six days left in this month-long art extravaganza!
This piece was inspired by last weekend's drive across Alligator Alley from Plantation to Bonita Springs. The alley is a flat stretch through the Everglades, Indian reservations and a panther sanctuary. Nothing but marsh and reeds and sky across the horizon. You can see storm clouds miles away; walls of gray flashing with lightning and showering rain from the sky to the ground below. Water birds, raptors and crows all along the road and perched in the barren branches of trees hover surrounded by water teeming with fish, snakes and alligators.
The Everglades filter into the lakes of our neighborhood, sometimes depositing gators, snapping turtles and otters into the suburbs. The lakes are filled with fish, waterfowl and kayakers - the perfect place for wildlife and humans to co-exist in south Florida.
Unless you are a certain Muscovy mama duck with her new babies.
This particular family has determined the mud puddle at the end of our driveway is the ideal habitat. Despite a system of lakes literally one yard's length away, these ducks have taken up residency in their own version of the suburbs. The ducklings plop down in the mud and stay there for hours, occasionally finding a worm or bug to nibble on from their resting place. When our garage door opens, they all run the length of the driveway to greet us, gathering around our feet like the most excited welcome committee on earth. And they don't leave until we give them a treat. And we can't leave until they are safely off the driveway.
So now we have this crazy dance of running ducklings, humans running back in to grab the food bucket and shooing them into the yard and depositing enough food to keep them busy while we back out of the garage in a hurry before they decide to run up to our feet again in their little welcome ritual.
In our back yard, the wildlife of the Everglades. In our front yard, the modern, suburban duck family. There is a meaning tucked into all of this somewhere. But all I can think of right now is how very well one mama duck and a handful of ducklings have trained us into feeding them in the front yard. Sigh. We might need an intervention.
Jen Walls and her imaJENation