If you’ve been chasing joy with me for a few weeks, you’ve read about the duck pond before. I visit fairly often, and here’s why:
1. It gets me moving. The pond is small, nearby, and easy to circle. Twice around is about a mile—easily doable on a midday break.
2. It’s a destination. The ducks go there on purpose. I go there on purpose. Others go there on purpose. It’s a place we want to be. When you get there, you know why you came.
3. Ducks are cute. Face it, they just are. Geese poop all over the place, but they can be cute too. Occasionally I’m in just the right spot to see a duck’s wings flap and unfurl, and the splash of color makes me wonder why God hid it there, of all places.
4. Ducks are purposeful. They look like they’re gliding, but I know they are vigilant for food or mindful of the offspring in their gentle wake. What happens on the surface is a result of what I can’t see beneath the water. Now there’s a lesson.
5. Ducks hold their own. Ducks and geese are not exactly prey for each other, but in my observation the geese can be bossy. I love seeing the ducks holding their own in their end of the pond. I need that reminder sometimes.
6. Others enjoy it. I’m never alone at the pond. People walk, push strollers, tug leashes, lie in dry grass, lean into the solid stillness of trees. And I like seeing all that. We smile at each other as if we have discovered a secret password.
7. It’s never the same. When I set out, I don’t know if I’ll see three ducks or a hundred geese. Maybe they’re gliding in still water or leaving tracks in the soft mush layered over ice.
8. It’s always the same. It’s a human-made pond, but it was made for just the sort of enjoyment it brings me. I like the fact that I can count on it to be there.
9. It makes me wonder. For instance, where do the ducks disappear to when we have a frigid, snowy day? It can’t be far, because when the weather warms the next day or so, they are back. And why is it that on some days only ducks are there and some days only geese are there? And why are the numbers swelling recently?
10. It’s real. I know the pond was dug by a backhoe and not the fingers of God. And it’s hardly out in the wilderness. But it’s a real pond. And you don’t have to have wi-fi or 4G to participate. In fact, it’s better if you don’t bring those things along.
Health is about more than weight and body mass index. When I visit the pond, I gain energy, clarity of mind, and perspective on challenges I feel unable to meet. If we visit them, the duck ponds in our lives contribute to our wellbeing, which is where truth health begins.