I can’t remember exactly when the air shifted in springtime. Along with the pollen and the warmth, came a new force to be reckoned with.
As the days crept by, it had become more of a distressing terror, rather than a simple nuisance. I had seen it from afar, watching it terrorise innocent passers-by with such an innate predator-like might. It hissed out its first warning, and after it swore and abused you, it was a free-for- all. You were lucky to heed the warning fast enough and get away or outrun the menacing tyrant.
Do not be fooled by its size — I’ve seen many big strong footy boys run away with absolute fear in their eyes. Fear wasn’t the only thing it imposed onto us, there was also sheer embarrassment. The humiliation of fleeing from a creature which you once saw as harmless. One can only take comfort in knowing countless others had fallen victim to these relentless attacks.
When did these power dynamics change? How did the human hunter turn into the hunted? Is it because we never took it seriously and then, all of a sudden, it attacked when we least expected? Why did one of us not fight back?
It’s almost comical how much power this one being holds over us, all because we were scared. Our species has become pathetically fearful, and this creature has used fear as its tool — the more we submitted, the more power it gained. At times I wondered if it could smell fear like a bloodhound, striking us when we were at our most vulnerable. At its core, its power was in its control. If we saw it in our pathway, we moved to the other side. It was a fierce protector of its territory and family, and that’s where the tragedy lies — it had threatened, tormented and tyrannised us, all to protect what originally belonged to them.
Those empty beady black eyes, that seemed to stare into the very soul of those who dared to look upon it, must hold some regret. But alas none! Its wings bent and twisted, with razor-sharp edges that glinted menacingly in the light, ready to pounce. Its gnarly webbed feet and the nightmarish fusion of beak and skull could make you recoil in horror, transfixed by the undeniably primal power of the one and only ANU duck.
I stand here in solidarity, writing to all those who have fallen at the hands of the ANU duck. We will not stand for their vicious cycle of oppression this year around. Please call 1800-anuduck-support to learn more about these feathered fiends.
We acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land on which Woroni, Woroni Radio and Woroni TV are created, edited, published, printed and distributed. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and emerging. We acknowledge that the name Woroni was taken from the Wadi Wadi Nation without permission, and we are striving to do better for future reconciliation.