a most beautiful thing

Today I saw the most beautiful thing.
I walked back to the creek
where I had seen the turtles and ducks
just the other day—
the turtles and ducks that saved us
at the beginning of the pandemic,
when the whole world
turned upside down.

I stood on the bridge,
peering over the railing.
No turtles.
No ducks.
Perhaps it has gotten too cold,
I thought,
which sent my mind
down a bunny trail,
wondering at what particular
a duck begins to think
that it’s getting a bit chilly.

I was about to turn and leave
when something inside me
whispered, “Stay.”
Then, as I looked up,
I saw them:
8 ducks waddling around in the grass
on the other side of the creek,
in someone’s front yard.
I watched them for a moment,
and then
the beautiful thing happened:

a woman walked out
of the front door of the house
with the yard filled with ducks.
She pulled her bathrobe tighter
around herself
before she flung out her hand
to toss something.
I saw a spray of
what must have been duck feed
scatter about the yard.
The ducks waddled about,
eating the breakfast she’d served
as she turned without a word
to walk back into the house.

The ducks ate their fill
before making their way
back to the water.

I don’t know much about this elder,
except that when she
came out the front door,
the ducks were already waiting for her.

I tucked this knowing
deep in my heart,
and I was fed, too.

~Lindsay L. O’Connor

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