A few weeks ago I wore rain boots to work for the first time in my entire life. They were relatively new (in that I’d never worn them in the 2 years they’ve sat in my closet) so the fit was awkward and squeaky. When I opened the office door, I tried to tip toe—squeakless—towards my desk so I could quickly change into my work shoes.
“Bleh,” I said, “it’s so ugly outside.”
I sat at my desk, considering all the changes I would have to make in my day and silently cursing my already damp hair and socks. Then my great uncle walked through the door with his signature cheerfulness.
“Good morning, glories!”
I looked up and smiled, “Good morning Uncle Ted! It’s really coming down out there!”
“Yup, it’s a good day to be a duck!”
I paused, letting his words sink in, and he hummed his way to his desk.
When I was little, my dad used to love taking pictures of the ducks that floated across the surface of the lake near my family’s cabin. They always looked so peaceful. One morning, when my dad took me and my sister out fishing, he pointed behind us at a female duck gliding in our direction. He grabbed his camera, flipped his baseball hat backwards and began snapping.
“Well, would you look at that,” he said from behind the lens.
Just then the duck curved to the left, revealing a line of fluffy ducklings following behind her.
At my desk, I looked up at the security camera screen. Every feed showed a section of the property covered in puddles. For me and my coworkers, these would provide nothing but grief and wet socks, but for those ducklings they might be a playground and a bathtub.
Later that week, after the rain had stopped and my boots were back in the corner of my closet, I awoke again to a bad day. Lost keys, missed alarm, ripped T-shirt. I got in my car with a head full of steam and a horrible outlook on the day ahead.
About halfway through the drive, I got stopped at a light that is never red.
“That figures!” I yelled in frustration.
Just then I saw an older woman and what I assumed to be her grandson crossing the street. The boy held a balloon in his right hand, and his grandmother’s fingertips in the other. After a few steps, he started skipping alongside her and she laughed before kicking her feet up to do the same thing. It was a good day for them, simple and easy.
I thought of the ducklings, and of what my Uncle Ted proclaimed amongst the cumbersome storm. How our bad days could very well be good days for someone else.
The woman looked over at me and smiled brightly. And as I looked from her to the boy to the balloon, I couldn’t help but smile back and let the trivial parts of my morning fall away.
A few weeks later, when the rain started up again, I walked outside to grab the mail and stepped directly into a deep puddle with my tennis shoe. I stood there for a second, feeling the cold water seep in, wetting my sock and my skin and sending a shiver up my spine. The grey sky thundered in the morning air and I laughed.
“It’s a good day to be a duck.”
And as I walked back into the warm house I get to call home, I realized that I was that duck.