I have a strange affinity for ducks. It probably started with my roommate Krista who would scream with joy every time she saw one and tell us in a high-pitched squeal how she wanted to steal them all and take them home with us.
The ducks in the duck pond near my apartment are not normal ducks. They are what my Biology teacher calls “psychotic ducks”. It’s true. They would never fit in with wild ducks because they have grown too accustomed to human interaction and they expect an offering of bread or some sort of food if you are around. After my afternoon classes, I love to stop and sit by the duck pond or the river that trails the southern end of campus to watch their quirky antics as they fight over pieces of bread, run away from exuberant children, and try to quack louder than all the other ducks. Besides the giant tortoises at the zoo, these ducks are probably my favorite creatures.
Today, I was walking towards the stairs on the south end of campus when I saw one lone duck by the MARB. I was perplexed at how it had managed to come that far on campus. I can barely travel up the 131 flights of stairs it takes to get up to south campus but I suppose possessing wings would remedy that problem. The duck was contentedly scavenging through the leaves in search for food, trying to gnaw on an acorn over here, trying to eat a girl’s shoe over there.
As I began to walk down the stairs, I saw something that explained the strange appearance of the duck. The river, usually a flowing current of water passing over rocks and plants, had been drained. The poor duck had probably woken up this morning and discovered that his favorite fishing point had been taken away. I realize that it was drained to prepare for the inevitable freeze and that winter’s cruel temperatures are already upon us, but it was strangely sad to me to see the empty river.
The passage of time is irrevocable as are the events that transpire during that time. You can’t avoid it. You cannot wake up one day in December and simply decide that it is summer or that it is Friday when it is really Wednesday. Despite what the Peter Pan song tells us, you cannot simply wish upon a star and expect all of your dreams to come true.
I’ve discovered that the most important things do not come instantaneously. They come after lots of planning, sleepless nights spent studying for a midterm, and some really bad days. That doesn’t mean the important things will never happen; it just means we have to patient and wait out the storm.
Don’t worry, little duck. Your river will not always be empty. One day, when winter has passed and the sun is more than a suggestion, you will find that your river will be filled once more and it will be more wonderful to you than it was before you had lost it.