“Being of a certain age is somewhat like being in limbo when one has been on a moving screen in the workplace for most of one’s life. Reinvention is the key.” (Joan Marsan-Murphine)
As a relatively new resident of Santa Clarita, I’m always keeping my eyes peeled for hidden gems in our fair city. I recently discovered one that I had driven by countless times but didn’t take the time to stop and smell the proverbial roses (or in this case ducks) until this weekend. Santa Clarita may not have the famous bronze ducks created by Nancy Schon in the Boston Public Garden, but we have the Bridgeport Marketplace lake on the corner of McBean Parkway and Newhall Ranch Road with its cornucopia of live ducks, geese and turtles.
There are also yellow diamond-shaped duck crossing traffic signs posted at the intersection alerting motorists to be cautious about strolling ducks and geese. This may be a familiar spot to those of you who have lived here longer than me, but as I sat by the lake watching the wildlife, the sounds of the traffic whizzing by seemed to fade away and the world seemed just a bit kinder.
This wonderful discovery and respite reminded me of one of my favorite little books called “Make Way for Ducklings,” a children’s picture book written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey in 1941. This charming book tells the story of a pair of mallards who raise their brood of ducklings on an island in the lagoon in Boston Public Garden. From this island, the mallards visit a police officer named Michael on the shore, who feeds them peanuts every day. After the ducklings are born, Papa Mallard decides to take a trip up the Charles River to see what the rest of it is like and plans to meet Mama Mallard and their brood at the Public Garden in one week. There on the island Mama Mallard teaches the eight ducklings all they need to know about being ducks, much like we do with our children and grandchildren. Then comes the end of the week and Mama Mallard lines up her ducklings and leads them ashore and straight to the highway in hopes of crossing to reach the Garden, but she has trouble crossing as the cars will not yield to her. Along comes their hero police officer Michael, who stops traffic for the family to cross and calls police headquarters and instructs them to send a police car to stop traffic along the route for the ducks. This kind gesture results in the ducks crossing the highway safely and making their way back to their little island in the lagoon.
If only the real world could be that kind, but maybe it can through all of us! Many of us used to be able get “all our ducks in a row” pretty quickly, but the older we get the more difficult it sometimes seems.
Judge Lynn Toler once said, “If I waited until I had all my ducks in a row, I’d never get across the street. Sometimes you just have to gather up what you’ve got and make a run for it!”
So even though not everything has lined up perfectly in this season of my life, I’m going to gather up what I’ve got (family, friends, faith, hope, dreams) and make a run for “it,” whatever “it” may be! I hope you’ll do the same.