Monday, June 4, 2012

Nine Ducklings

       One day not too long ago, I was between shoulds and dealing with some strong emotions. I did not have enough time to go up into the mountains – the natural (so to speak) remedy for such conditions. In fact, I thought I didn’t have time for any sort of respite. Between errands, I drove past the entrance to a local park. 
      The car just turned in. 
      On its own. 
      I can take a hint. 
      I parked and wandered around until I found a spot with a clear view of a local lake (actually, a reservoir). There were people in the area but none close. I made my way down a gentle embankment to a good sitting rock on the edge of the water. 
      Just sitting, seeing, feeling the wind, and hearing the distant laughter of kids playing in the lake calmed me. I began to breathe more deeply. See more completely. 
      Even then, it took me a while before I noticed the duck family plying the shore to my right. Actually, I first saw only the parents. Gazing more carefully, I finally noticed the ducklings, fuzzed and swimming in erratic loops around their mom. [Their dad was always nearby but never close.] I watched for a while. How many were there? They never stopped moving and their movements were not coordinated let alone choreographed. Plus, they were pretty far away. So I watched. Maybe seven … no, eight. No, seven. It was very hard to figure out. 
      The family eased its way along the shore, coming closer. Nine! At one point I counted nine ducklings. But then I couldn’t be sure. With great intensity, I focused on the little family. I knew I had to do it quickly because a young man was approaching. He’d scare them off. Again, I counted. Yes! Nine ducklings. Confirmed. 
      The young man clambered down onto the beach and set up his gear for fishing. I eased myself off the sitting place and back up the embankment to my car, smiling to the fisherman en route. 
     When I got back into my car I felt washed clean – of superfluous emotions, and superfluous shoulds. I breathed more deeply and probably made more sense. 
       Nine ducklings can be the equivalent of time in the mountains. 
      Who knew?

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