Ask The Ducks

It is a wonderful place to cycle in the neighboring city. My love for biking has always centered around the many streets and foot trails near the heart of the metropolis where I was raised. I love living in my wife’s town where she grew up but continuing to make trips into the city to ride is something that I like to do. It is nostalgic, and the atmosphere to reflect on the thousands of experiences I had while growing up there is nice. It was figured that we had moved, between my mother and father before and after their divorce, to over twenty different residences. Difficult for a kid. With the memories of very painful experiences throughout the moves of mom and dad, I also collected many pleasurable ones. Riding through the streets and floating between the recollections humbles me. It is cleansing for me. While I’m in the cardio high, I’m able to look at the inevitable up and down of life. It is kind of like the pace of the bicycle and my body. All things–body and bike– working together, yet resistance is present. The challenge has its variation with the terrain I ride upon and within the gear I choose. I guess I’m truly seeing the rest of life though cycling, in a sense.

There is a lake in the middle of the city that we have been visiting ever since I can remember. Ducks and geese have always gathered there, and I’m sure that thousands of loaves of bread have been torn and thrown about for them to eat. I don’t think there had ever been a time while visiting the lake–adjacent to residential areas, ball fields, parks and hospitals–that people weren’t present with some feeding the ducks. Now there are signs posted that warn against feeding them, but people do it anyway. The little benches around the lake serve as good resting places during breaks in my rides. I sometimes watch the ducks and their behaviors. There was something that I had learned from a speaker about the way ducks will sometimes fight and after breaking apart, flap their wings a couple of times (blowing off the steam) and then quickly appear as nothing had happened between them. There was more depth to the story as the speaker had told it, but the message was profound. Since hearing the story, I recalled actually witnessing this happen between ducks in the past. I know ducks are probably a poor example in comparison to cognitive ability of humans, but I do believe ducks are more fortunate than most humans. You see, ducks pass off their frustration in a manner that is much different than ours. They flap the feathers, get rid of the emotion (if that is really what they are doing) and get back to being a duck. No worries, now, more bread!

The duck story illustrates just how complicated we humans make things. It is especially relative to my experience. The past has taken me through a gauntlet of extreme personal pain and exploration to remedy that anguish. I held onto the past and all of the resistance–self-induced, but that was all that I had known at the time. I had no clue that the duck of the lake had it figured out, back when mom, dad and I were feeding them all of those years ago. Even while being a little guy, I reexperienced pain when remembering what had happened between the two adults I knew as my parents. Anxiety was always a friend of mine when growing up. I didn’t know that life could be any other way. Still hard to remember even now. Being stuck in a certain way of thinking or feeling I now know, because of neural networking within the brain, had kept me grounded in the pain. Then the parents, feeding more pain to the already torn boy, also took its toll. Mom and dad at least took me to the lake in order for us all to experience pleasure outside of or pain.

The lake and the area have their truths and their lessons. I ride around that area and sit beside the same lake and feel as though my world now wouldn’t be what it is without what it was then. It is a certain kind of peace when I stop and look at the ducks as they float along, occasionally picking on each other, then flapping their wings. Going back to searching for more to eat.

The header picture is from the same lake. I had taken our kids there many years ago. It is a shame that the same patterns I had learned from my experiences had been shared around the time the picture was taken. The ducks and geese brought them a break and pleasure in the midst of my stupidity. My Ignorance. I had a hard time adjusting around that time to a woman with three young kids. The residual pain, the lack of not knowing how, and the battle within myself was taken out on these innocent babies. All these years later, I see the importance of flapping the wings and quickly moving forward.

The duck is much wiser than I.

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