At Peace with the Past

One duck left at Robin Botie's pond in Ithaca, New YorkSome summers there were ducks on my pond and other summers there were geese. But there were always foxes and coyotes. So nesting never lasted long. And now it is down to one duck.
She does what she’s done for years: sits and waits in the same spot even though this no longer seems to make sense or have purpose. The duck flies off occasionally during the day. But she always returns to the same spot.
“I won’t feel sorry for you, duck,” I tell her from the other end of the pond. The next time she flies off I walk over to where she sits to see if there’s a nest. But her nesting days and mine are over. I find only a few scattered feathers.

I could make up stories about the duck, say she is waiting for her long-gone life-mate to return or she’s grieving her lost ducklings. Maybe I could even say this duck is my daughter reincarnated, watching over me.

But what if the duck is simply enjoying the quiet place she’s always known? Maybe she is finding peace and there is nothing to move on from, nothing to grieve or get over. What if the dashing rains, the sun on her back, wild winds of winter, the mate who landed splashing in the pond with her, sweet broods hatching, lost ducklings, the teeth of the fox, wrecked-empty nests, and breathless flight are all just part of who she is at this moment?

Every summer morning on rising I peek out the windows north and south. First I look to see if the shiny black Dodge Challenger is in the driveway; my son is home.
Then I check for the duck.

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15 thoughts on “At Peace with the Past

  1. Pingback: What Lasts Forever? | ANYTHING'S POSSIBLE - EVEN JOY

  2. SusanB

    That’s the thing about ducks that can’t talk, you won’t truly know why she’s there so you can make up any reason that helps, even just a little.

    Reply
    1. robinbotie.com

      Hi SusanB. Thank you for your comment. I love to humanize animals’ actions and feelings. It does help me to understand my own world if not the animal’s reality. Cheers to you.

      Reply
    1. robinbotie.com

      Hi Nicole. I thought I was on to the duck. I really got into thinking about a duck life and what her duck-world was. Not sure what I’m actually on to but meanwhile, my duck has disappeared. And I’m almost like grieving. Guess I wasn’t On To my own feelings about this duck. Cheers!

      Reply
  3. Lynne Taetzsch

    Robin, as you find comfort in the duck, I find comfort in seeing Roxy, my neighbor’s black lab, who Adrian loved. As long as he was able to, he took her out into the woods to run free. For a long time after he died, she would come looking for him. Now I find comfort in seeing her on walks with her family.

    Love the photo of the duck!

    Reply
    1. robinbot Post author

      That is so sweet, Lynne. It’s amazing how dogs remember. I wish you lots of comfort. Cheers!

      Reply
  4. Elaine Mansfield

    Beautiful duck. Serene. May it be so. I have seen wild mothers go wild after losing their babies. I have seen them move on in a way I can’t imagine. I’m moved to imagine you checking for your son and then the duck. Who is that duck? Or for me who is that male bluebird? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. robinbot Post author

      Oh Elaine, isn’t it the saddest thing, a mother goose who has lost her babies? It happens here almost every year. Ducks and geese. Yes, they move on and it’s moving to watch. I’m definitely that duck. And now when I see a male bluebird I will call it Vic. Cheers!

      Reply
  5. Annah Elizabeth

    What a beautiful shot of this old gal. No doubt she feels home in this spot, the comfort of something ever so familar… Somehow I think her daily presence would bring me a sense of peace and comfort, too…

    Reply
    1. robinbot Post author

      Hi Annah. Yeah, I love watching the ducks and geese on the pond. Mostly it’s peaceful. But when you have them there a lot you get involved in their little daily dramas too. And when the one duck who is always there isn’t there for one day, there’s something else to wonder and worry about. Cheers!

      Reply
  6. AnnetteCorth

    Another winner, Robin.

    I wish I knew how to reduce the size of your email, especially the photo of the duck. I will learn in due course.

    I as always eagerly await your next offering. These pieces are so heartwarming.

    Annette

    Reply
    1. robinbot Post author

      Hi Annette.Anytime you want a smaller version of any of my photos I’d be happy to send a smaller file to you. Thank you. I’ll send you a more manageable duck right now. Cheers!

      Reply

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