True story about a one-legged duck, a parable
I was walking down the bike path
between Poultney and Castleton on a hot summer day.
It used to be a railroad track,
passing through fields, forest and bog.
There behind an old derelict farm,
right up against the raised path,
was an old beaver pond.
And in the middle of the pond
There was a small island
that used to be the beaver lodge.
And on the island
stood a white, one-legged duck.
I stopped and looked at the duck, which held my gaze,
it was so beautiful!
I wished it a good day.
I stopped again on the way back to my car.
It hadn’t moved perceptibly.
Next week, I took the same walk.
The duck was still there,
but the island was larger
and the pond was much smaller.
I could see where the dam,
or what was left of it,
was no longer doing its job.
Everything was drying up.
I felt bad for the one-legged duck.
The next week I decided to fix the dam.
I returned with pick, crowbar and shovel;
I worked for hours
while the beautiful duck watched me.
I was up to my waist in mud.
The logs were heavy and sodden
and hard to reposition.
Water prefers to flow.
I made myself think like the water.
I talked to the duck while I was working.
I talked to the logs and the water.
I whistled to myself.
When I was done, I felt really good.
The pond was already beginning to refill.
I imagined that the duck was grateful.
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