I took these pictures this summer while visiting the Chicago Botanical Gardens on a gorgeously sunny day. Standing on the bridge above the pond there seemed a natural place for contemplation and observance.
With the slight breeze dancing across the water, the ripples followed the wind’s melody from a spot I could not pinpoint behind me, to a distant future end that caused me to squint in order to discern. The ripples seemed uniform, as if following some imaginary drum line’s beat as rhythm. Each line on the water’s surface fell into place; one ripple after another, spaced evenly, with no room for hesitation. It seemed a perfect metaphor for what I thought my life should be — following the supposed-to’s, swallowing the should-have’s, and following the path set forth by the first ripple. It seemed so perfect.
It wasn’t long though, oh no …. not long at all, really, before the duck appeared. This mallard, with her head held high, confidently swimming directly against the ripples. This would be the time to explain a few things concerning this duck. This duck was not swimming against the current for rebellion’s sake. This duck was not bored with swimming in the easy direction. This duck had purpose. Confidence. This duck was on a mission.
The water that effortlessly flowed to the far side of the pond at the wind’s insistence also provided the means for this duck to swim with purpose.
Water is a funny thing. So versatile. Both strong and weak. Both transparent and murky. Both steady and changing. Both cleansing and polluted. Both rippled and still. Water can move us … and yet, we can also move water. Sometimes it is the very things that seem to push us forward that enlightens us to other things we should push back.
So today my prayer is to be like this duck — what is yours?