Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Duck Tale

On my commute home each evening I generally have to wait for the light at Kellogg, which is a fairly long wait. I sit in line with the other southbound travelers on Woodlawn, running though my list of things to do when I get home; calls to make, dinner, chores to accomplish. However, every now and again waiting at that light provides an inspiring bit of amusement. But I have to tell about the history of the intersection first.

On the right side of Woodlawn sits a small city within a city, called Eastborough. It is a high income neighborhood that has its own police force, street signs and such. And for many years, the city has boasted a pond that hosts lots of ducks. In the winter when it froze you could go by and see people ice skating and I would always enjoy the many brightly colored Christmas displays around the neighborhood and pond. Now there is a large and high ornamental brick fence around that corner which blocks the view of the pond. It really is a shame, but that’s another story!

The Eastborough human residents share that pond with ducks. There are lots of ducks, of varying kinds, of which I am ignorant of names. Every kind from the ones with the beautiful teal colored heads to plain brown ones, white ducks, big ones, little ones, the collection of them is fascinating. Sometimes, especially in the winter months you see geese there as well.

I could always tell that the ducks thought that pond was actually their own. As a child I would watch as the ducks fussed when people wandered around the pond, unless they were bringing offerings for the feathered inhabitants. Sometimes my mom would take me out there and I would toss handfuls of bread pieces out to the ducks and laugh delightfully as they swarmed it, always squawking for more.

As an adult, those ducks still fascinate me, but for another reason. Every now and then they will cross the street. There could be anywhere from 5 to so many I have lost count, but at least 30 or more. They don’t really seem to have any special order, as far as kinds of ducks, but the leader will always be an adult duck.

They travel mostly single-file, but sometimes 2 or more side-by-side. They will be a few adults followed by some smaller ducks and then more adults; regardless of how many there are it is always the same. They cross slowly, giving the little ones time to stay close to the adults as they make the journey to somewhere away from their pond.

Are they going to feed I wonder, or what? Are they aware of the traffic that stops for them, even when the light turns green and we wait? They are ducks; why aren’t they flying I wonder?

To the immense credit to the human watchers, I have never heard anyone honk their horn in impatience. We all just seem to sit and watch patiently as our feathered parade waddles past, seemingly unaware of our presence. For some reason it often brings tears to my eyes, that little winding procession that is crossing a usually harried intersection in rush hour. Finally, the last duck hops up on the opposite curb and they continue on their journey. I smile and wish them well and decide I can’t wait to see them again.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Friends We Hold Dear

I’m unabashedly amazed at the comings and goings of some people in our lives. People that we met and never thought to see again can sometimes be the most important catalysts in our lives and someone that we think will be there forever just seem to vanish in the wink of an eye.

Two people that have played major parts in my life fit that description. One I met at a social gathering; she was kind of cool, had a new baby and I liked her a lot. But our lives seemed totally different; the paths we each were on seemed miles apart and I thought it was a shame that I wouldn’t get to know her better.

But 15 years later she is still one of the best friends I’ll ever have. You know the saying; friends help you move, but real friends help you move bodies. And she would, as I would for her. We’ve disagreed on lots of things during those years, but I’ve never doubted that we will always be sisters of the soul. I’m an ‘auntie’ to her daughter, a part of the village that has helped to give her guidance over the years. Not the my friend isn’t perfectly able to figure it out herself, but every now and again a helping hand and some thoughtful advice can do wonders for a single moms soul.

Now that my ‘niece’ is in high school, I look back at the years and feel awe at being able to be a part of her life. She is beautiful and talented and if I’ve contributed even the tiniest bit to that then I must have done something right.

And then there is the other situation; the one friend that you can never imagine leaving your orbit, your world. This is the person that has moved bodies for you, so to speak. They have lent their shoulder and soaked up more tears than anyone should have to; they support you emotionally, roll up their sleeves and get dirty when the situation requires. They are your hero.

And yet, somehow they are gone. There were no angry words, only an expression of pain. Words that evidently struck a guilty cord and now because of that keep them from saying those words that move mountains – change everything.

“I’m sorry”

Those are magic words – big ju ju in them. They can heal a wound deeper than any ocean and make the pain go away. But there is a secret to them; you have to actually utter them out loud. To the person who aches to hear them. To the person who doesn’t really understand what has happened.

Do you know someone who needs to hear those words? Don’t wait, don’t think you’ll get around to it tomorrow or next week; that precious person might not be there when you think you are ready. We have so few people in our lives that really mean that much to us. Don’t lose another one, another day with that person.