Thursday, July 2, 2009
Un Canard Out of Water
Before boarding a plane for France, I took an overnight road trip to the lovely river town of Moline, IL to meet friends and dance my back end off at a Keith Urban concert. I first spied this serene mama when walking from the parking lot into my hotel. With the “hunting lodge” theme of this hotel I at first thought she was as fake as the carved bear by the front door. Whatever possessed her to make her way up from the Mississippi River, around the end of the conference center, and across the busy parking lot to this planter at the main entrance to set herself up a nursery?
Once when walking past I found her gone, leaving unguarded her half dozen light teal eggs, packed down into the potting soil and surrounded by feather fluff. They looked so vulnerable, exposed as they were to the hustle and bustle of a busy hotel. I guess, though, even a duck mama has to get out of the house sometime and stretch herself a bit. When she picked this spot for her temporary home did she even imagine what it would be like shepherding her brood across the dangerous expanse of blacktop for their introduction to the water? Yet despite the constant activity of her neighborhood, she sat so serenely as car after car pulled up, luggage was transported, and small children threw breadcrumbs at her (which remained uneaten). Here stamina and focus were something quite unfamiliar to me. As I pulled out of the parking lot one last time to head down the highway to home and then board a plane to France, I wondered if she was oblivious to all the challenges of this position in which she had put herself and her family, or if she just had ultimate faith that it would all work out.
So after an interminable plane ride, a 30-minute bus ride into Paris that stretched into almost 2 hours because the driver didn’t seem to know where he was going, and a train delay on the way to Dijon, I hope I can remember this duck who made herself a home in a most foreign place. I want to remain as serene as she amid the challenges and display her calm resolve, having faith that it will all work out as intended.