I had hoped that I would be able to find an inspirational quote or passage to accompany this photo. I wanted a simple post, a quick post, an easy greeting for a Monday. I scoured my books and notes, even visited a few pop-up laden quote sites, all to no avail. I found beautiful poems and moving sentences in these places, but all of my efforts left my mind swimming in circles amidst a cacophony of other's words.
A few days ago I went for a walk by the pond, trying to quiet my roiling emotions. I had let the mixture of a lingering head cold and the demands of daily life build up in me to a point that I was mad at everything. Not that I was being unreasonable, but I found myself having to frequently apologize for strong words to the people who needed gentle assurances the most. I was, to put it in harsh terms, being pissy. I felt the kind of angry that subverts good intentions and eats at you all day long.
The sun was just beginning to set; my shadow stretched into the water beside me. I could hear the chorus of ducklings peep-peeping from beyond the bridge. The mother duck never made a sound as her noisy brood turned in wobbly circles, bouncing off one another like fluffy bumper cars. I watched as she would steer them as a whole by subtle shifts in her demeanor causing the ducklings to immediately follow her as if tethered by an invisible thread. Occasionally one curious paddler would stray outside the protective rippling boundary of his mother's wake. She gave him time to explore and patiently waited for the imprint instinct to kick in sending him splashing back to the group. I watched and listened until the sun had slipped behind the hill and the fisherman packed up their boxes. My anger, just a mask of feeling helpless and not in control of the week, subsided. The invisible threads of insecurities disintegrated.
Mother duck reminded me that when I am not in control of a situation the least effective reaction is to stop trusting in my capacity to be quietly present. She knew that duckling would stray but instead of raising a fuss, panicking the rest, and creating an even bigger mess that would take her much longer to fix, she just listened and watched and trusted he would come back around because he needs to know she will be there for him. I saw that instead of trying to fix things that go wrong for the people I love, they need me to simply be there, patiently listening and watching as they swim in circles, testing the boundaries of their own invisible threads.