Duck Crossing · 10 May 2014

Muscovy Duckling by Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

We are supposed to be stewards of the earth, so it is natural that we should want to take care of it. We are created that way. And God commanded us to do so. Even so, it is amazing that we will pause in life to make sure that the earth and/or its creatures are kept safe.

When we think of good stewards, we tend to think of gardeners or naturalists. We think of people like Jacques Cousteau or Marlin Perkins or Jane Goodall who showed us the beauty of creatures in their own environments. We think of people who care for the earth and its creatures. But we all have that need to watch out for nature, especially, its creatures.

I was on my way to a track meet when I saw a marvelous example of people taking care of those creatures.

If you have ever seen a duck with ducklings trailing behind, you know that it is an adorable sight. The mama duck fearlessly walks wherever she is going with her little ducklings in tow. Sometimes these little balls of downy feathers fall over their own webbed feet, but they hop right back up and hurry to catch up with their mother and siblings.

Unfortunately, mother ducks were never taught to look both ways before crossing the street. Even when the street is a highway. They just point their beaks forward and march their line of little ones straight to where they are going. I was in one lane waiting for the light to change when one of these intrepid mama ducks was on her way across six lanes.

She could have gone up to the crosswalk only a little ways away, but she just crossed behind the car in front of me. I saw her and her little train of ducklings and kept my distance to let her jaywalk. The lane on my left was empty and the light was just turning green as the mother duck started to cross. I saw a pickup truck followed by another vehicle coming up in my rearview mirror. The truck slowed down even though the light had turned green. He had seen the ducks in time. The guy behind honked, but the truck waited as the ducks waddled in front and into the left turn lane, where there were no cars.

The interesting part came as the duck train was about to cross over the small barrier between our westbound lanes and the oncoming traffic in the eastbound lanes. The driver in the truck was waving his hands at the eastbound traffic. I am not sure if the eastbound drivers saw him or the ducks but they slowed to a stop to let the little duck train pass. I was already on my way, but saw that each of the eastbound lanes had backed up with cars watching the mama duck and her ducklings pass in front. I did not see them get all the way across, but I am sure they made it without incident.

I had to chuckle at the whole incident because I am sure that even the most calloused and impatient individual would stop to let ducklings waddle across the street.

We all do indeed want to be good stewards. We might not drive the most fuel efficient vehicles or plant enough trees. We might not always think about how our lifestyles affect the environment. But when it comes right down to it, we really do want to see our earth and the creatures in it thrive. So much so that we will even stop on the highway to let a family of ducks jaywalk to get where they are going.

© 2014 Michael T. Miyoshi

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