Despite a near decade of philosophical training, I confess that my observation of ducks throughout this same period has probably provided at least as much fodder for thinking through existential concerns.

Yesterday was no exception.

Georgia Rae, Sara, and I went to some length to unite a baby duck that had strayed a good distance from its family (a momma duck and nine siblings) at Lake Ella. After a good fifteen minutes or so of bread-crumb-trail-making (in conjunction with some fallen-branch-based prodding), we sat back ready to witness what we presumed would be a super-magical-super-cute reunion between a momma duck and her long lost baby duck (i.e. the inevitable culmination of our good deed for the day). We preemptively, collectively aww-d aloud as the momma duck raced ahead of her nine baby ducks to reach the stray baby duck first. But when she finally got up close enough to it she snapped at its head, and kept snapping at its head as it tried repeatedly to embed (camouflage?) itself back among its siblings. Upon closer examination it seemed to be the case that the formally stray baby duck was in fact the runt of its mother’s offspring. And it was not at all clear that momma duck wanted it anywhere near her or its siblings.

Nature: awe-inspiring, life-promulgating, life-alienating, brutish, beautiful, red, tooth and claw, etc.


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