When I was about five years old, the chicken barn in the grassy field across from our home caught fire. The entire field.
Through our living room window I watched a few of the neighborhood children stomp on flames in rubber boots. Their father had recently bought the field, and eventually he built a subdivision there. They were pink and yellow mansions that, to this day, loom like gigantic sore thumbs over an otherwise beautiful countryside.
My parents had ducks in the backyard. I was afraid of the larger ones, but one time my Dad brought a duckling, towel-wrapped, into the kitchen. He put the yellow, trembling fluff of a bird in front of the small heating vent and I was permitted to touch the soft down feathers.
When the subdivision went in we couldn't have ducks anymore. It was something to do with the water.