DUCKS! I spot them as soon as I drive into my spot at Towl Park. There are two sets of adults and six ducklings. Yes! Ducklings! Who'da thunk it? I'm so surprised that I jump out of my car without properly looking and immediately regret it. My sneakers sink into mud. I hurriedly make small hops until I am on dry grass and then attempt to take photographs of the duck families.
They are having none of me. They swiftly sail in the opposite direction whenever I get into camera range. I look back at my car and notice that I have also left my door open. What was I thinking? My purse is sitting in full view on the passenger side. Anyone could pull up and steal it before I could lumber back to the car. I roll my eyes at my own stupidity and then promptly forget it as the ducks briefly glide into camera range. I quickly take a few shots before they waddle away and then I walk back to my car, almost goofily pleased with myself.
It is then that I spot the mud again. Good grief. And there are my silly footprints in it. I gingerly make my way back and sigh as I realize that my shoes will have to be cleaned before I can go into my house.
But. Yes. I saw ducks! I am just plain astonished that they are still here and even more surprised that there are ducklings, too! This is unheard of this time of year. All water fowl and most birds (except the hardy blue jays and cardinals) leave to go south every year in late November and do not return until mid March. I suppose our mild winter has confused these ducks. So, they've stayed on.
I sit quietly, carefully not making a sound and just watch those ducks just because I can. The mama ducks are devoted to their broods. One shepards four ducklings, the other, two. The males stay close, helping when one or another duckling strays. They flit back and forth in the pond, back and forth.
A woman comes with an unleashed collie. The dog seems as surprised and gleeful as I am and barks joyfully as he ventures as close on the sidewalk as he can to the ducks. Swiftly, they all swim away in a line that is as straight as an arrow. A male leads, followed by two ducklings. A female duck and four ducklings are next in line. The other female and male make up the rear of the line. It looks as if they had practiced this in advance, like children having a fire drill. The ducks stare forward, not moving their necks to the left nor the right, just gliding smoothly away.
The woman calls to the dog and they run away on their own path. About five minutes later, the ducks return. I am delighted when I see a male duck suddenly duck his head under water, his backside displayed. Then he pops up with a silver fish in his mouth. The other ducks gather around him, like kids sharing a candy bar and soon the fish is history.
How simple their life is, I think. For a moment I am envious and then, of course, I'm not. I want a more eventful, interesting life. I can't complain that my life is boring.
I have become, seemingly overnight, an activist. This was difficult for me as I don't have an activist heart. I dislike large gatherings of any kind. When Therese asked me if I wanted to sign up for Cornhusker tickets, I demurred. I've been to a few Husker games and always felt claustrophobic. I much prefer to watch the games on television. I have always hated parties. I hate being expected to make small talk with people that I don't know well. So, I delayed becoming an activist until I simply could not NOT be one. I hit my wall. That wall that makes you suddenly step up and defend someone who is being bullied. The wall that everyone hits from time to time if they have a conscience. Different things trigger different people. I've noticed this. And sometimes even those of us who prefer to sit and watch rather than participate feel obligated to move.
All that I know is that I do not want to be on the wrong side of history. I do not want to be like those Americans in 1942 who thought internment camps for the Japanese were a good idea. I refuse to let fear drive my life. I have been very, very afraid of dying in the last few years and one day I simply decided that I had to get off that bus. I am afraid of terrorists but I will not allow that fear to drive me to sit quietly while refugees fleeing for their lives are turned away from my country. All of the terrorists from 9-11 were from Saudi Arabia, yet that country remains untouched because our president has hotels there. This is wrong. There is so much wrong with this picture.
When these days are in the history books, I want those that are born after me to be very clear about where I stood and why. I honestly believe that one day all of the Trumpers will fade into the shadows, not wishing to admit that they voted for this man.
It is my hope that more and more people will find the courage and just plain hubris to join the resistance. We CAN save our country. It will just take a lot of us to do this. With every wrong move our president makes, more find that they can't sit on the sidelines anymore. More begin to look at themselves in the mirror and admit that the Emperor has no clothes. Little by little, courage is born. One voice. Two. Six. Twelve. A hundred. And there we are at last.