I came home the afternoon of the 24th all smiles. I had it all planned. I was going to keep an organized journal with pictures and detailed notes of the eggs and Mama Duck. I was going to get pictures of the hatchlings breaking through their shells and following Mama Duck down the slope to the canal. I was going to take pictures every day as they grew and write notes on their duck behavior and communication. It was a perfect little plan in my mind.

We pulled in the driveway and Kai immediately ran to check by the front door. He returned with his eybrow’s furrowed. “Something ate the eggs.”  My heart sank. Poor Mama Duck. She had laid four beautiful eggs and now all that was left were cracked shells. She returned later that evening acting duck normal. I talked to her and watched her for signs of melancholy but it was as if nothing ever happened. It was me who was feeling sad and a bit frustrated. My perfect plan was ruined.

I was reminded of a parable Deepok Chopra told in his book, Fire In the Heart. It goes something like this.

A man lived in a village and loved two things, his son and his pony. One day the pony ran away. People in the village came to him and told him they were sorry for his misfortune and bad luck. He simply said, “It’s not over.”

A few days later the pony returned followed by a glorious white stallion. Everyone in the village came to see the beautiful creature and congratulated the man for his good fortune. The man simply said, “It’s not over.”

The man’s son went riding on the beautiful stallion, fell off and broke both his legs. Everyone in the village rushed to help and lamented over the son. They told the man he was veryunlucky. He said, “It’s not over.”

The next day the army came and recruited all the young males in the village to fight in the war. The man’s son could not go. Everyone in the village told him he was so fortunate to still have his son by his side. The man said, “It’s not over.”

The man represents our Soul, God, the Universe, … The villagers represent our mind. Events happen and our mind categorizes them as good or bad. We react with certain emotions according to our mind’s interpretation of these events. Life becomes a rollercoaster. I was elated when I saw the duck eggs and then devastated when they were destroyed. Mama Duck however was calm, going about her day as if everything would be fine. After watching Mama Duck for the past year with her previous ducklings, I found it hard to believe she was acting so normal. She had ten ducklings last year that she protected and communicated with. She was one busy Mama. Still her life consists of laying eight to sixteen eggs, having about half of them hatch and then watching her babies slowly disappear from predators. That’s why losing four eggs doesn’t seem to phase her. It’s simply life.

Many people believe things happen for a reason. It’s often words used to offer comfort when there is a tragedy. I’m still trying to figure this one out. I think life is a lot more complicated and I don’t feel comfortable telling people things happen for a reason. Yet this parable makes sense to me. Life is much more enjoyable when you’re peaceful. That I know.

So, I like Mama Duck went about my days as normal. And yesterday as I walked to my car, I noticed something white by my gutter.

   “It’s not over.”


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The Picture Book Review

Reviews of Children's Board Books, Picture Books, Activity Books, and Graphic Novels

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