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Ducks Don’t Want To Be In a Row

And other mental hygiene from the Sooth Fairy

Ducks (not in a row) resting on the ice near the Lachine Rapids in the St. Lawrence River. (Photo by me)

The Sooth Fairy left something under my pillow again. She does that from time to time when she gets word another piece of my mind is coming loose. Instead of money she leaves a bit of mental floss so I can clear out any ossified, plaque-like notions. Sometimes things get very loose before they firm up again.

Ducks have other plans

I have a bunch of loose ends flapping at me — some life bits that have come unbraided.

Question marks about my work: I’m cresting the wave of Matereality at the end of April and then…?

Wondering where I live: my lease runs out soon — with the heavy smokers next door I can’t open a window or enjoy the balcony without getting fumigated — do I stay?

My finances are confusing as the apparently never-ending tail of a cross-border divorce keeps whipping me in the bureaucratic arse. Will I be starting from scratch?

I just want to get my ducks in a row, you know? Then I’ll be able to… to… do, you know, other stuff.

Sooth Fairy, sage sprite that she is, took me for a nice run along the river this morning and showed me some ducks. They were decidedly not in a row. And they appeared quite content in their unarrayed duckness.

Dust to dust: not a metaphor

I am often stopped in my tracks, reviewing, revising, face-palming, wondering, stumbling (diving into the sidewalk, throwing up…). When I saw the ducks I realized the joke was on me again. Ducks in a row! Who has their ducks in a row? Who even wants their ducks in a row? Why on Earth would ducks get in a row?

Ducks clearly do not want to be in a row. Who am I to put them there?

How many reminders do I need that the only moment is now, no matter how many ducks in whichever arrangement? There is no tidy braid, no pinned down loose ends, no end point. Heck, even the supposed end point is not final. [Resists urge to wax on about compost.]

I am at peace with the idea that I come from stardust and I will return there. And that stardust doesn’t give two hoots about my mental hygiene. Nor do ducks for that matter.

All I want is to experience love and laughter along the way. And to live my dreams in a way that doesn’t create other people’s nightmares.

Any duck arrangement that lets me be that is okay by me.


The ice-dozing unrowed ducks viewed from an another angle. (Photo by me)


This piece originally appeared on my Medium page on February 25, 2023.

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