M is always telling me not to worry so much. It's not so much that I worry, though, more like my brain is always generating potential outcomes for a given situation, and these outcomes are not always happily-ever-after in their nature. But bad things do happen.

Which brings me to the ducks.

We live in an idyllic country setting, at the end of a long, gravel driveway. Our neighbors have a pond that we pass on the way to the road, where we see the occasional heron, but more frequently a pair of ducks.

Whenever we went by, we greeted the ducks and commented on their daily activities. Usually, they were eating, or cleaning their feathers. Really, what else do ducks do? We wondered why they didn't fly south, with the other ducks. Last month, we had a brief cold spell and the pond nearly froze completely, but for a small circle in the center, where the ducks swam around and around, their churning feet keeping this small area from freezing.

The ducks became a symbol for our relationship, a reminder that we should stick together, and together, we would prevail.

And then, one of the ducks wasn't there anymore. At first, we thought he might be off in the field, or maybe he got an irresistible urge to migrate south, with the rest of his kind. A week passed with no sign of him. The remaining duck looked very lonely to me.

My mother-in-law, during Christmas dinner, reported that, in fact, the neighbor had found the missing duck, or rather, the body of the missing duck, on the side of the pond. "Something got it," were her exact words, I believe.

I know it's just a duck, and it's not even MY duck, but a feeling of melancholy washed over me, so strong, that in that moment, I lost all faith that anything, in my whole life, would turn out ok. Luckily, I am a relatively rational person, and the next moment erased such feelings of hopelessness. It was, after all, just a duck. And life, after all, is filled with loss, as well as joy.


Heather said...

That's so sad! I hope the other duck finds a new duck friend.

m said...

Actually, it has. There are two other small brown ducks that seem to have moved into the pond with it. Not quite the same, but nice to see there's some company.