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Article ID: 6284
Age Group: Adult
Posted: April 27th. 2003
Series 02 - Two of Ducks...
They are vast in experience, These little birds that come in the night." *
It was a dark and stormy night. It really was. On Friday, we experienced one of those lightning storms from Hel that the Tampa Bay region is so famous for. This storm however was especially notable both for the amount of rain that it produced (Alas, ye poor worms!) and for its duration. Beginning at around seven in the evening, the lightning and thunder continued to flash and boom until almost dawn. It was a dark and stormy and very noisy night indeed.
Being a notoriously light sleeper, I found myself sitting out on the balcony at one o'clock and two o'clock and pretty much at every wee hour before and after that. And it was during one of those wee hours that it came to me. In a flash really. As I was watching the streaks of lightning dance amongst the clouds, I spotted something odd down by the edge of the Little Pond.
Now I have many times walked that shoreline and for more hours than I have walked it, I have watched from my concrete and stucco perch all of the comings and the goings of the myriad critters that live there. I dare say that I know that terrain as well as anyone -- or any critter -- and so something 'different' tends to capture my attention. This was one of those 'differents'.
I squinted my eyes and waited for the next bolt of lightning to illuminate the scene. Flash! Huh? Boom! Sure enough, I was right. Sitting out there on the shore -- seemingly oblivious to the torrents of driving rain and the flash-and-boom of the storm -- were the two female mallard ducks. I knew these two well. I had been watching them for the three weeks that it had been since their return to the pond of their birth.
The lightning flashed again and a light came on in my head. Several strands of thought came together somewhere between the next big flash! and the next loud boom!. (Your forbearance is hereby requested.)
Strand Number One : Threes. We Scots are a superstitious lot. Maybe my great-great grandparents brought this strand over from the Isle of Lewes. Maybe not. All that I know is that the members of my family -- Pagan and non-Pagan alike -- believe that important events happen in threes. There were always three women pregnant in the clan at one time. Deaths also seem to run in close threes. We just accept that this is the way it is with us. Oh sure, not every mundane thing always occurs in threes, but as soon as an important type of event happens twice, we all start speculating about who or what the third thing will be.
Strand number Two : Synchronicity. We pay close attention to acts of synchronicity around here. Mainly because we don't want to be haunted by the shade of Uncle Carl (Jung). I just hate it when a ghost swears at me in German. So when two pairs of ducks -- the two females and another male-female pair -- started swimming around the Little Pond, I filed that fact under "Possible Pending Synchronicity". (And no sightings of any pissed-off ghostly manifestations from the Jungian School to date.)
Strand Number Three : Our friends. Our friends, who shall remain nameless (But who sure look very much like Don and Daniella WaterHawk), have been apart for several weeks while Dee is in New York tending to her ailing mother. Don has been.... well, lost would not be too strong a word to describe his feelings and he is man enough to admit it. (Well, admit it to us anyway. I have no idea how he is going to feel after he reads this little article!) Don misses his wife and companion and I am sure that Dee misses him, too. It is not that either one cannot exist without the other. (For these are courageous and independent folks, our friends.) It is just that together they are more than the sum of their individual selves. And if you are so blessed with such a relationship, you will know exactly what I mean by that.
Back to our story. It was a dark and stormy...Oh? Right. We did that part. Anyway, as I sat on my balcony on that dark and stormy night, I was amazed (and somewhat concerned) to see the two female mallards just sitting out there in the storm. Shouldn't they be bedded down somewhere in the rushes or at least have taken some shelter under the small boat dock? That they were together did not surprise me however because they always were. Together, that is. Every day, they traveled back and forth across the Little Pond together. They tucked up on the shoreline together. And together, they were raising five still quite tiny -- and still very vulnerable -- ducklings.
As I was pondering all of this -- and wondering why these sister ducks were just sitting out there in the midst of the storm -- I recalled the other 'two of ducks'. One mallard male and one female. Long after the mating season was over and our old blue-tipped Romeo should have been well on his way to wetter pastures, he and she were still together. Always together. They really seemed to enjoy each other's company. And that started me thinking about our friends, the WaterHawks...and the lightning flashed again and that is when I finally got it:
It was all the same thing.
For in that split-second of flash, I saw it. Or more precisely, I saw them. Huddled beneath the touching wings of the two female mallards were the five very tiny fluff-ball ducklings. Nestled against the downy breast feathers, pressed against their mothers' hearts, the little ones were held safe and warm. As lightning blazed and thunder roared and rain beat down upon the earth, they were sheltered from the storm.
The three stands came together and it is all the same thing. What drew the two mothers together, what kept the male and female mallard together and what urged our friends, the WaterHawks (Ducks? Waterhawks? My 'three' was roosting there all along. So, I'm a little slow sometimes.) to be together again is all the same thing. Call it Companionship. Call it Devotion.
Better yet, call it Love.
This morning I went down to the shoreline of the Little Pond and collected the two mallard breast feathers that I knew would be there. I will place them upon my altar on Beltaine. They will remind me of the companionship, devotion and love that I have been fortunate enough to experience in my lifetime.
Come Samhain, I will take the feathers back to the edge of the Little Pond and set them afloat upon the water. They will remind me then of all of the companions and loved ones who, much like the ducks, have since left these shores to fly in other realms. And after that is done, the cycle will begin again.
But it is still Spring today. And there is yet time to watch the ducklings grow and to admire the male and female mallards as they glide across the waters and to visit with our dear friends, Don and Daniella.
And should two duck feathers mysteriously find their way into certain greeting cards or packages or pockets, who is to say for sure how it is that they got there?
Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness,
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place
To enter into the days of your togetherness
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.**
To all of our Pagan brothers and sisters and friends, we wish you a Merry Beltaine and a Blessed Samhain. May your days indeed be good and long upon the earth...
And may more than a few duck feathers come your way!
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, April 28th., 2003
* (poem) Little Birds of the Night by Stephen Crane.
** Apache Wedding Song
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