Monday Musings #1

I hope to post my personal musings on Mondays and I hope that you will reach out with your thoughts as well. This is Monday Musings #1.

I love nature! I believe wholeheartedly that there are so many things we can learn by watching and emulating NATURE. I recently had two encounters involving ducks that caused me to reflect on life, and I’d like to share them with you.

The lesson of the desperate ducklings:

One day I was driving in the fast lane down a busy highway when I spotted a family of ducks up ahead. They were struggling down the median and being tossed and buffeted against the concrete barrier. Drake and Duck were in the lead with five ducklings in tow.  I was horrified as I watched the helpless duckling’s spinning, flipping, and slamming against the wall as they were hit again and again by the impact of 70 mile an hour drafts from passing cars. The adults flapped their wings in vain, feathers being mercilessly twisted in odd angles. A few times the drake ran ahead, wings aloft, as if to take flight, but knowing that his ducklings could not yet fly, he instead folded his wings and remained with his family.

Driving this same route to work every day, I knew that they ducks would be unable to escape their dilemma for another 15 miles, and then they would have to cross three lanes of traffic. It would be extremely unlikely that this little family was going to make it out alive. And there I was, unable to change lanes or speed, in an instant becoming one of the dozens of cars that blew past inflicting terror and harm. I cried the rest of the way to work.

The image of those helpless ducklings following their parents to certain death haunts me. Pondering the parallel, that my personal decisions might encourage my kids to follow down a destructive path is troubling to say the least. Since that day I cannot stop thinking about what I am doing with my life. Am I leading my family down a proverbial highway? Are my children headed for danger due to my decisions? The knowledge that everything I do impacts my children is a daunting realization.

And I can’t help but to feel empathy for the Drake and Duck, who certainly knew that they were in trouble, but never-the-less, were helpless to correct their course or save their offspring. I think on the lesson of the desperate ducklings a lot, and I pray that for the sake of my family, I might have the wisdom to weigh my choices before I act. I pray that I might never forget that others who count on me might be following in my footsteps.

What path are we leading our kids down?

The Lesson of the Fulfilled Fowl:

While walking, I happened upon a duck peacefully paddling around in what I would describe as a filthy, litter strewn mud puddle. But the duck appeared completely unfazed by the condition of its surroundings, and instead seemed to me to be perfectly at ease. Not only was this duck undeterred by its habitat, but it was happily splashing and quacking as it cleaned itself and paddled along.

I stopped to take in the scene, my mind unable to forgive the trash carelessly thrown, or the quality of the dirty water, no doubt a result of runoff from the recent rain across the filthy rural road above. Never-the-less, after a few minutes observing my feathered friend, I found my tension fade, replaced with a sense of calm gratitude. Nature has a remarkable way of forgiving and adapting. Even through pollution, destruction, deforesting, and callous indifference, nature finds a way to thrive. Through every crack in concrete you will find a seed has taken root. Through every lost acre of habitat you will find animals succeeding to find homes and reproduce.

And even in a dirty ditch on the side of the road, you will find a duck that has taken the time to give thanks for the gift of water and sun, and to rejoice in its life. For me, this is a powerful lesson. A reminder to be less critical and more grateful. To make the most of what I have been given, and to find happiness in the simple things. To not let the imperfection of the situation keep me from finding my peace.

I am grateful that I happened upon this simple scene, and I hope never to forget that it is often the simple, uncomplicated moments that bring the greatest satisfaction. PS-I picked up the trash, as I always do when walking. Here’s hoping that one day I will happen upon my feathered friend again.