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This afternoon, the ducks are more than one mile from their pond-home, surrounded on three sides by the ranch homes of an extended family in my neighborhood. Everyone knows these ducks, evidently tamed for decades by the loving-kindness that surrounds them. Toddlers with their moms often stop and feed them. Opposite their fenced-enclosure, a faded yellow and black sign, “Duck Crossing,” alerts pedestrians and motorists, alike, to their presence.

Perhaps wearied by their trek, the ducks squat upon mounds of fresh grass moistened by misty rains; their two speckled companions, not photographed, are nearby, still exploring a puddle. The white duck, like a Joan of Arc, appears to lead the others on their jaunts. Then as abruptly as they began, they stop as other ducks swell the pond and mating takes off in earnest. And so it has been for the last fifteen years.

But yesterday, I heard the ducks outdid themselves, venturing onto a major thoroughfare, stopping traffic in four lanes until they waddled across, drawing quizzical smiles from most motorists.

Would that all peoples could be as free-spirited, as instinct-directed, as open-minded as our neighborhood ducks; even the black one with the limp participates fully with the others. Would that we could practice heart-acceptance, despite our differences and stop throwing around terms like, cancel culture that only feed the glaring divide among us.  

Perhaps learn to lighten up when spring waddles of ducks begin. Creator God would have it so.

At 5:45 A.M., I awoke with this big dream:

Two black stallions, bejeweled and sleek, find their way into my backyard.

Rarely do I remember dreams from this depth of my unconscious as discovered by the Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Carl Jung in the early 1900s. Called the collective unconscious, it includes genetically inherited material in symbolic form, not shaped by personal experience. The personal unconscious deals with repressed material from consciousness from whence most of my dream emanate.

So it’s the gift of two black stallions, bejeweled and sleek, to reflect upon this morning—I still remember how they looked at me, their deep souls enticing me into their world, nurturing and warm: I was content to remain there. But their adornment intrigued me—halters crafted with rich gem stones. Indeed, these horses were from another realm and I was to learn from them.

It was a question of listening, moment by moment.

Because my physical waning creates more limits, narrows my outer world, and tempers my attitude, I must remain with this morning’s gift of the two black stallions. Let them fortify my psyche with masculine energy, beauty, affection, speed, and grace, all symbolic traits of stallions that will guide me toward my ultimate destiny of unending joy.  

Perhaps in that realm, more black stallions, bejeweled and sleek, will play.How Creator God will smile…

If you love the truth, be a lover of silence. Silence like the sun will illuminate you in God.” A trenchant saying attributed to the seventh-century Isaac the Syrian, Bishop, theologian, and monk, and regarded as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Simple words, if pondered, reveal the unseen caught in the flux of time. Key to this process is passion, whose firelight, like the sun, ignites inner worlds.

It does not take much to see who is truly alive among us: their quickening gaze, their resonant voices, their authority, of whatever age. They just seem to know. One was of these my teacher.

Her name was Ocie, a hospice patient, a city-dweller whose silent-hilarity infused her cramped bungalow with faded shutters set atop a hill. Bookcases of salt and pepper shakers from travels with her deceased husband and stacks of dust-covered photo albums jammed the front room. On the porch off the kitchen were stacked cages she had used for breeding canaries. Of scant importance were her shriveled right side, her perilous gait, her cropped white hair, her fingernails still dirtied from back-porch gardening. No pretense about her whatsoever. She’d been in the fire and loved to share the story with all who sat around her kitchen table.

I was among them.

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