Posted by: mdmusingsie | May 10, 2011

The Secret Life of Ducks

While standing on the bank of the River Corrib as it flows into Galway Bay, I watched the assorted seagulls and ducks that had gathered for a late morning coffee klatch; the swans nowhere to be seen.

As I stood there I noticed a mallard swimming beside and slightly behind a hen. They were just floating along, minding their own business when one of the mallards on the grass near me decided to join their little soirée. The couple wasn’t interested in company and quickly flew off to the other side of the river. After touching back down, the hen started swimming upstream, with the mallard protectively close by and slightly behind. It made me think of two lovers, the kindly knight escorting the gentle maiden.

The mallard who had tried to become a third wheel swam back to my side of the river where he was soon joined by another male who had been watching the shenanigans from shore, and a hen. My first thought was, there’s a twist. Most men would prefer it the other way around (two females to one man). As they, too, began to move upstream I couldn’t help but notice the different formation. The two male ducks swam in front with the female trailing behind. Obviously, there were no lovers and/or mates in this bunch. Maybe they were siblings, I considered. Brothers would certainly take the lead, leaving their little sister trailing behind. Or was the hen a poor maiden, smitten by one of the mallards, following faithfully behind, hoping one day he’d take notice of her.

As such, the lives of ducks seem no different than the lives of humans. All trying to make our way in life; sometimes finding that one true love, and at other times, chasing after dreams.

I’ve always considered it ironic that the mallards, instead of the hens, are the colorful or “dressed up” gender. It’s exactly the opposite in humans. Women are expected to dress the model while men can go as they will. It must be how the universe works to achieve a balance.

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