Duck Pond Reflections

One of the best parts of my day is taking a walk in my neighborhood, usually early in the morning.

I am fortunate to live in a lovely place with walk paths through both green and wooded areas, and my favorite place to hang out is in a gazebo next to a large pond.  There are ducks there, and it’s fascinating to watch their social interactions.

Residing there were two white ducks, which I called Bonnie and Clydebecause of the way they would respond to the smaller brown American ducks that flew in to enjoy the pond.  As soon as one of those smaller ducks hit the water, the more aggressive of the white ducks (Clyde) would swim furiously toward it to chase it off.

I could never tell if it was turf protection or play (I suspect the former), but that white duck sure did seem to enjoy his power.  The brown ducks could take to the air, but the pond’s surface was under the dominion of a watchful Bonnie and Clyde.

A nice sugar-momma who lives nearby would bring seed for the ducks everyday, and heaven help the little brown duck who tried to get some of it.  But when the bigger Canadian geese flew in, those white ducks knew who was boss and left them alone—to swim, and to eat the seed.  Crows, too—no turf wars from the whities when it came to the seed.

But one day I went to the pond and only one white duck—who I assume was Bonnie–was there, swimming forlornly by herself.  Days passed, and Clyderemained missing.  I suppose a fox living in the woods nearby gobbled him up or some other mishap befell him.

What became interesting was to observe the transformation of Bonnie, now that she was alone.  It was very sad to watch her at first, because she was reduced from a pair to a single with no apparent support system around her.

But in the weeks following Clyde’s disappearance, Bonnie began swimming with one or two of the brown ducks, and they would share sugar momma’s seed.  No more chasing them off from water or bounty.  Just hanging out together, like old buddies.

Nowadays when I go to the gazebo, Bonnie is always in the middle of a group of 10-15 brown ducks, fully integrated into their society and surrounded by friends on a pond she once considered her personal domain.

Is there a lesson to be learned from this?

Well, I don’t know – maybe that if you pick on someone weaker or smaller than yourself, you’ll eventually be picked off by someone bigger and meaner?  Bad karma?

Or that if life kicks us in the tush and we find ourselves alone or abandoned, we will eventually regain our feet (webbed or not) and come out stronger than ever?

Or perhaps the lesson is simply that in the end, ducks are just ducks and people are just people, no matter what shape, color, or form we take, and whether we choose to fly or simply swim through our lives.  Prejudice surely brings loneliness.  Acceptance of others—no matter how different from us they are–can add richness to our lives, ensuring that we are never really alone.



  1. It be cool to work in noetic science

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