Some years ago, in a time of magic much like now, I lived in a house that was near a lake. I was a young mother then with a toddler and a preschooler. As I worked around the house on a particularly beautiful spring day, I heard a strange sound coming from outside. I went to the front door and there on the stoop stood a duck.
Although to my knowledge I had never actually conversed with a duck, there I was. Her quacking and clucking gave way to understanding of why she was there. She expressed her displeasure for having to seek out human help, but a stronger interspecies tie of motherhood had drawn us together. At her urging I followed her around to the back of the house. "See, there they are!", mother duck exclaimed. "I don't know how this happened!", she said, "they were with me one moment, and the next, well, there they are!" Sure enough, there they were all right, ten little ducklings, squawking and hopping madly, stuck down in the crawl space beside the house.
By this time quite a crowd was gathering. Children from all over the neighborhood rushed to the scene, all wanting to see the baby ducklings up close. This further flustered momma duck, and I shooed the children back to the fence to watch from a respectful distance. The children thought nothing of me conversing out loud with a duck, perfectly natural.
There was a busy street between our house and the lake. I was afraid if I just took the ducklings out they would never make it across the road. "I'm going for a box", I told the momma duck.
Returning with a box from the garage, I carefully picked up each baby and placed them into the box. The babies yelled "momma!", and momma yelled back "It's all right, she's trying to help!"
"OK, they are in the box, now show me were to go", I said. Momma duck was off, first flying, then walking directly in front of me, quacking out "this way!", and "just a little farther", and exclaiming that we would be there now if only I could fly.
Down the street in procession we went, momma duck, me with the box full of squeaking babies, and the whole group of children, both walking and on tricycles singing "We’re taking the babies home!"
As we all carefully crossed the street and headed up the grassy hill leading to the lake, momma duck told me this was far enough. I put the box down and tipped it over so the baby ducks could hop out. They all ran straight to their mother, where she kissed and scolded them saying, "now stay close, don't wander about!" And off they went, momma duck leading the way and all the ducklings in a line behind her.
The children and I watched as they disappeared down the hill. We turned and headed back for home when there above our heads circled mamma duck! "Thank you! thank you!" and off she flew to rejoin her babies.
Spring surrounds us now. The promise of renewal unfolds around us. This is a time to breath deeply, become aware of the small details in nature and rejoice in relationships with others, even those who appear quite different from us. Spring is the time to open our hearts wide, and honor Spirit flowing through everything, connecting us in a way so even humans and ducks can speak to each other. We are all one.
May you be still enough inside to hear a duck at your door.
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