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One Duck's Wake

Ysabel de la Rosa

My absence from the blog since January has been one-third circumstantial and two-thirds intentional. I came across a quote from a Mexican poem recently: "¿Quién soy yo para cantarte? / Who am I to sing to you?" 

The question gives voice to my dilemma about blogging. Who am I to add one more voice to the ever-growing chorus online? There was a time when communication experts feared just one kind of mental bombardment: commercial messages. In today's world of content marketing and management, our content is fast becoming the commercial. Anyone can publish anything any time. I don't want to participate in the bombardment. Also, there is already a great deal of really good content online and offline. What do I add to that grand soup? Medicinal garlic? Warming cayenne? Refreshing fennel? Or an unrecognizable pinch of celery salt?

There is a small lake near my home where I walk often. The lake is never without a duck, or ducks. Part of what I enjoy during my walks is watching these birds. They are perfect specimens of graphic design. Their shape, colors, curves are as satisfying to my eye as a sketch by Michelangelo. Their solid form conveys fluidity. Their dissonant voice is oddly comforting. It reminds me of castañets interrupting and accompanying music, of childhood songs where we tried diligently to imitate that quack, and the giggles I suppressed when I met a stunningly beautiful woman whose voice  in no way matched her appearance.

Last week, I spotted a solo duck, paddling alongside me as I walked the trail. The day was windless, which is highly unusual for our area. As he paddled, the wake in the water behind him grew and grew, spreading into a wide V of ripples. He turned, and the wake followed him, creating a beautiful, interwoven design in the blue water. It's a sight I don't often see, because the wind is usually whipping the water's surface. I was struck by how a single duck paddling created such an expansive effect.  

I'm just one duck, but maybe one thing I say will contribute to a waking for someone else, will help them stop for a moment, appreciate what surrounds them, feel or think a thought that will comfort, illuminate, or helpfully remind. I know what beauty and insight one small duck offered me one sunny afternoon. With that hope, I return to this medium. And with returning, I offer my gratitude to those who spend valuable moments of their time here with me, in the virtual territory of one duck's wake. 

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