This weekend was an odd series of days, themed around a family of ducks who decided to nest under a prickly bush outside my front door. The daddy duck stood guard on the front lawn, watching for aggressors, predators, sniffing dogs or loud oblivious children riding bikes like the drunk Irish drive on St. Patties day.
As the day ended Friday night, the daddy duck stood guard and the mommy duck was safely seated aboard her nest of half-dozen eggs. Early Saturday morning, both parents were gone and the full nest sat exposed for hours. Looking for wisdom we first turned to YouTube and then a call to the veterinarian to learn that the ducks do return. And sure enough, later that morning they did return and all was right with the world.
Exhausted from concern, Saturday night surrendered to Sunday morning and once again we checked on the ducks. On this day there was no daddy on patrol, no mother aboard her orbs nor any babies in the nest; there was just nothing. Had a rocky raccoon eaten them in the night? Had they immaculately cracked open, cleaned up after themselves and left?
Disturbed by the miracle and cruelty of natures potential, we left the house and decided to immerse ourselves in the weird wonderful world of the wild and untamed, courtesy of Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Naturally the birds came first in all their bizarre weirdness.
Next came our distant cousins, the apes, monkeys and orangutans. They made me wonder about us and our true nature. Is it more natural for us to drape ourselves in turquoise while holding ropes, or is it more natural for us to order double toasted bagels with butter at Starbucks?
Is it more natural for us to sit under the hot sun, uncombed and naked on a tree trunk, or to hunch over a lap top computer, caged within a fluorescent lit dust coated felt padded cubicles, or a fishbowl of an office?
In touring the park, we had to cross through the fast-food/bathing area, where children coughed like dogs, and old folks sheltered themselves from the hot sun underneath sweaters and jackets. The cubs of our kind played under milky showers blasting their minds free from the burdens of responsibility.
Back on the trail we watched two infant elephants recognize each other and eagerly run to greet the other, meet and trunk hug with affection. Is it more natural to freely run toward our familiars and wrap our trunks within theirs, or to remember the mean things they may have said or done in the past, protect ourselves from future harm, and punish them with a chilly turn the next time we meet?
With our mortality out of mind, we waste precious moments from the now, replaced by depressed thoughts of the past or anxious worry toward the future. And an instant later, the time we spend on this earth is unexpectedly stolen from us, and what ever seemingly crucial stress or twisted necessary torment we’ve chosen to endure, is now moot and insignificant.
Run toward your significant others with desperation and wrap your trunk around theirs without mind, for love in that moment is all that really matters.
Amazingly, we came home and the daddy duck was standing guard out front with the mommy duck back aboard her nest. We didn’t know what happened to the eggs. We didn’t know if maybe she was making more eggs. We even thought for a moment that maybe there were no more eggs at all and the parents just resumed their positions as if the eggs were still there.