I don’t imagine that he/she weighed more than a couple of ounces – although, having never actually weighed a duckling I can’t say for sure. And I initially use the he/she identifier because without checking I also don’t know whether he was a she and visa versa – my guides clarified later that the duckling was male. These are questions that came to me much later and well after the undeniably dramatic and traumatic events unfolded before me several weeks ago towards the end of an ordinary Thursday.
What’s most surprising at this point in time is how deep the awakenings were for me that were shared by this duckling and how they’re continuing to be so in a ripple-effect kind of way. Dropping a stone into a lake always means something for that stone and (we forget) for the lake as well as the ripples of the shared energy move across the stillness. The major component of what I witnessed simply underscored, bolded, and italicized how important then and now just one life can be especially a life as a non-human animal and as brief a life on this planet as a duckling’s can be at times.
The scene unfolded on my side of a busy six-lane avenue separated by a median as I was heading west and towards home. When I say busy the speed limit is 35 mph which means most people go about 40 and this is one of two streets where I live that bisect my home city in half so it’s a well-traveled thoroughfare. We were heading into rush hour – about 4:30 pm although the traffic hadn’t yet gone bumper to bumper. About 50 feet in front of me a woman suddenly started waving a sign that she was holding while standing on top of the raised median. I thought at first she was advertising something – a store, a service – then I noticed she waved more frantically and included her arms. To my right the cars in the other two lanes were slowing down as I was and as we did I caught sight immediately in front of me of two people who were hurrying a family of ducks – mama at the front – across the street and onto the grassy area next to the curb. There must have been eight or nine ducklings behind her as they all waddled towards the curb, mama duck being able to clear the height easily and her ducklings needing some gentle human hands to lift them up. A beautiful sight to behold – people helping animals, just as they should.
As soon as the family reached the curb traffic got ready to flow again when the car to my left started honking their horn madly which made me look over at them and the other side of the street across the median. To my horror there was a remaining duckling with no gallant humans to guide and protect him as several attempts were made to do what was dictated by Nature – rejoin the family flock across what must have seemed like the Grand Canyon. I immediately started honking my horn as well trying in vain to get the attention of the drivers on the opposite side of the street to slow down or stop and screamed ineffectually at them inside my car. I debated for about five seconds to get out of my car to stop traffic and heard immediately “you’ll get hit” by my guides. Let me be clear that I don’t blame the other drivers because I’m certain that to see a several-ounce being on the road moving erratically could have been dismissed as a piece of debris. Yet, one of the deepest awakenings for me arising out of this situation was about moment to moment awareness which all animals have naturally as do humans – we tend to forget that and in this case a duckling paid with his life for this lack. It was horrendous to watch as he was hit several times and each time responding to what must have been so deeply traumatic and painful by regaining his footing and moving toward his family unit. I don’t know what caused him to be separated from the other ducklings and I’m confident that his mother knew were each one of her charges were so that some part of her was back across the street with him – that’s the way of moms everywhere – we just know. Although it seemed like lifetimes passed while watching his journey toward the end of his life I know it was mere seconds, yet time is irrelevant – this we know from physics. Shortly after he transitioned I heard my guides say “he’s with us now” yet my journey with all he had to share with me and those who witnessed his path and were open to the wisdom was just beginning. This is how it is sometimes, in our lives, that one life shines more brightly than all the rest even if just for mere moments. This has been a life-changing experience for me and the grace imparted by this small duckling and his brave existence for mere moments on my path will resound for months and perhaps even years to come and for that I am immensely grateful and deeply blessed.
Photo credit: Duckling, Fairlands Valley park by Airwolfhound.