A few weeks ago I found myself wearing rain boots to work for the first time in my entire life. They were relatively new, in that I’ve never warn 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 my best to tip toe towards my desk so I could quickly change into work shoes. I sat down at my chair and glanced up at the screen revealing all the security camera feeds. Grey on grey on grey.
“Bleh,” I said, “it’s so ugly outside.”
Like most Southern Californians, I’ve never exactly hated the rain, though whenever it arrives I have no idea what to do. At the sign of the first drop, umbrellas seem too scientific to work and intersections become impossible to cross. I reminisce about sunshine like it wasn’t 70 degrees the day before and I sit in 40 minutes of extra traffic on every freeway in Los Angeles.
As 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, 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 as he hummed and sat down at his desk to start working.
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 my sister and me fishing, he pointed behind us at a female duck gliding 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 again; every feed showed a section of the property swarmed by puddles. For me and many of my coworkers, these would provide nothing but grief and wet socks on our way through the parking lot, but those ducklings would have loved to splash and play, just as they did that morning on the lake. It was a good day for them, simple and easy.
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 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 the cause of the stop: 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 finger tips in the other. When the signal came for them to cross, he skipped 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 things from 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.