Every day here in Heron Clan Land I start my day outside on the patio with my cup of coffee and my first cigarette of the day. The patio faces a pond.. a man made pond which seems to be common here in Cincinnati - man made ponds that is.. not my drinking coffee and smoking (cheeky grin). It is a quiet time, a peaceful time. The various animals have yet to make their appearance.
When I first arrived here 8 days ago - swan introduced to me the ducks that live in the pond. Mama ducks and their ducklings. It is always entertaining to watch baby ducklings marching or swimming frantically behind Mama duck. But there was one bunch of ducklings that swan pointed out to me that were orphaned. No one knows what happened to Mama.. but it is obvious they are all alone in the world.
At first I felt sorry for these lost and lonely lil ducklings.
But I have been watching them for 8 days now.. studying them. They are managing just fine in this cruel cruel world that robbed them of a Mama and a role model. None of the other duck families seem to pay any attention to these orphans. Yet they manage just fine. I have watched them over these last days develop into quite a "clan" themselves. They have - by election - or deduction - or just plain drawing straws - selected a leader. Not much life experience but this one lead duck is doing a pretty damn good job of marshalling the troops and keeping everyone on task, moving together in duck formation all the while keeping an eye out for everyone's safety.
The only strange thing.,.,. is these ducks seem to have no natural fear of humans. They come marching up onto the patio in the mornings - I like to think they have come to wish me a "good day". They have even allowed me to grab my camera, move a little bit closer and snap some shots. The lead duck keeps a wary eye on me.. and has some duck rule about how close I am allowed to come before clacking his bill together - making a weird tapping on wood type of sound - and the clan swing 'round and move off.
I am not entirely sure what life lesson to take from these orphaned lil ducklings.. maybe none is necessary. But it has added an interesting twist to my morning coffee.. and for some strange reason has brought a calmness, a quietness, a peace to my soul.