A wind storm blew. It tossed the outside world around like a bartender shaking mojitos. From my bedroom, I could hear the whistling, the rustling, the tumbling. Later, startled awake in the wee hours of morning, all was still.
Saturday morning arose and we noticed Dawson, the protector, running alongside the chicken run and the fiendish rooster, Sunrise, wrecking havoc with his piercing cry at the bantam coop. They should have been safe within their hut but that untrustworthy door is no match for turbulent winds and it sometimes fails to keep them secure. We were in a rush to get to make-up piano lessons and then on to soccer training though so the ducks would have to wait.
Upon getting home, we ate and then headed down to the coops to do some pre-spring cleaning. It was a gorgeous day, bright sun shining, snow melted, happy hens scratching, and children eager to simply be outside in the warmth.
Dawson kept running out into the tall grass and back again, like he had lost something. And he had: Bingo was no where to be found.
Lily searched the nearby grasses which were dormant from winter but still tall enough to potentially hide a blind, one-eyed duck. Nothing.
I texted a neighbor who gave me the go ahead to climb down their side of the hill, into the construction zone and down to the creek which runs long the edge of both our properties. Lily and I carefully made our way past the front loader and bulldozer, around the enormous mountain of topsoil and down to the creek. Lily watched the path for groundhog holes as I scouted the water for our duck. Still nothing.
I must admit, at this point I was thinking ahead, what new arrangements could we make? We would need to give Dawson to a new duck flock and that would open that coop up for more chickens, or at least for moving out all the chickens who currently reside in our shed.
I snapped back to the present, pushing the ideas aside.
At the end of our portion of the creek, there was a fallen tree branch that looked suitable for Aidan to use at the fort they were creating. Lily and I carefully picked it up and drag/carried it to the other side of the property. (You really don't realize how big 8 acres is until you walk the entirety of it with a 7-foot tree branch.) We gave him the wood and I left Lily there to play while I went to pick up a sizable piece of construction trash that had blown into our yard. It was maybe 20 feet long but try as I might, I could not get it to fly up high in the air like a Chinese Dragon Kite. (It was super cool in my imagination though.) I continued on, trash blowing behind me, searching for a duck that simply could not search for us.
About half way back up to the house, I spotted something moving in a nearby clearing.
"Lily! Lily!" I yelled, jogging up to the stranded duck. "I found Bingo!"
Lily came running. Bingo was now sitting quite still, blood and pus covering his one eye, his face streaked in red. She carefully picked him up and we took him back to the safety of our coop. Dawson ran to him, quacking at his friend. (I am pretty sure it was more of a C3PO lecture on the dangers of going off by himself, not Chewbacca-like joy over his buddy coming back....but still.)
Watching the ducks reunite, the chickens going on about their business, the cats coming over to check things out, Storm sitting at a distance, longing to be surrounded by all these birds, I had one of those moments.
You see, I will readily admit, I do not like keeping ducks. They are messy and sloppy and really don't offer much in the way of anything. They cannot reciprocate our love, nor do they seem to care about us one way or another, or if they do, they certainly don't know how to show it. They cost us resources and give very little in return.
Yet we went searching for our ridiculously pathetic duck. Because no matter how messy and pitiful and useless he is, he is still ours. And in him we still see that hopeful little duckling we saved from what was otherwise certain death. Because he is ours, we look beyond his faults, we see his need, we call him by name and we love him.
And like the father of the prodigal son, we rejoice. He was lost, and now he is found! He was blind but....ok, ok, he is still blind, but now WE see.
We get it.
We are God's pathetic ducklings; messy, sloppy, quite useless at times, yet saved anyway. And still we wander off again and again only to find ourselves walking blindly in circles until, by grace, we are found and brought home once more....and through it all, we are
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.....that can save even a wretched duckling like me.....