by Tracy L. Carbone
Yesterday I met a friend for lunch at the Frog Pond on the Boston Common. We planned to buy nachos from the snack shack and then spend our lunch hour discussing and lamenting the undecipherable complexities of relationships.
As I waited for her to arrive, I spotted a couple of old ducks sitting on the grass. It’s them in the picture above. At first they seemed to be run-of-the-mill ducks, common Mallards, not markedly different from all the others milling about who had claimed the historical Frog Pond as their Duck Pond.
Once they stood up though and waddled to the water’s edge, I saw that they were older ducks. The male stood up first, restless to swim, and limped under his chubby feathered body. He took a few steps, excited to jump in, but then stopped, turned, and waited for his mate. She then arose, also a little heavy, and limped over to him slowly. Then side by side they entered the water together.
I was touched by the relationship they had, but as I watched them further, I saw how close they really were. The male kept swimming ahead, then would stop to wait for her. It was obvious he was stronger and more eager to swim all around the pond, see the sights, look for crumbs or bugs or whatever it is the Boston ducks eat, but he never swam more than a few feet away from his mate, Mrs. Duck.
He didn’t appear resentful that she slowed him down, didn’t leave her for a younger duck who could keep up. Instead he’d go just a bit away then stop. And the way he kept turning around to look for her, make sure she wasn’t too far out of his comfort range was beautiful.
I know a lot of human couples like those ducks, who have stayed together through crisis and disease and old age. And I know my share of humans who didn’t want to wait for their Mrs. Ducks to catch up, who wanted to cruise the pond alone.
That little Mallard couple inspired me and that male was a good guy. Next time I fall in love, I want a duck like that.
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