Duck Lessons
by Scott Shaffer

We’re relaxing at breakfast in our four-seasons porch, gazing
at our beautiful backyard garden, lake beyond. Whoa,
here come momma and her ten swarming ducklings!

They rush en masse ahead of their protector to the promised
land of life-giving seeds under our bird feeder. They jostle,
elbow, peck, compete for the manna dropped from above.

Mom stands tall, her eyes rove, she seems to listen as her littles
now strive amidst our hostas, snuffle for slugs, bugs.
A couple laggards stray; but they scurry back

at momma’s low caution-cluck, tiny legs a scampering blur.
We admire mom’s battle readiness, marvel at her brood’s
intensity, thinking, They do this all day … every day!

This is their life—always restless, searching for something to satisfy
their gnawing hunger; always alert to momma’s alarms.
Later that day, on a casual walk in the beaming sun,

we see the little ducks clustered in group nap on the shoreline.
Close by, momma sneaks some spa time, nestles in grass,
then wades in the quiet water, ever vigilant.

It’s as if the still, snoozing fluffballs are saying, “We can rest
in the sun on the shore, because we know
that momma’s always near.”

May I, too, take breaks from my daily battle
and rest in my Protector’s Presence,
content on the sunny bank.

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