An empty day on the calendar usually has a way of making me feel a little uneasy. Since it’s such a rare occurrence, I guess I’m not always sure what to do about it. I’m a detail person, a scheduler and a list maker, who operates best with a pre-set outline of obtainable goals.
So, after a hectic week working on an impending deadline, Thursday rolls around and, all of a sudden, there is nothing to do. I know, I know, how does that happen? Well, it doesn’t happen very often, so this time — instead of allowing any anxiety to surface — I decide to see it as a sign, a gift from God if you will. After all, I have been working really hard. So, Carpe diem, I seize the day!
I start with a cardio spin class because, at my age, exercise is a blessing to my cholesterol loving heart. I follow it with an endurance class, just to prove to myself that I can still endure it! Then I think. “Oh, what the heck,” and head for a Yoga class so my sore body can ask my mind why I did the first two classes when I had a whole day with nothing to do.
I’m not sure what I was thinking when I took THREE classes, back to back, but I finally got to the coveted corpse pose. It’s the grand finale when you just lie there like you’re dead. It’s the one position you wish could last a little longer… okay a lot longer. I was in some sort of semi-sleep zone and not at all ready to leave. But, once people around you start rolling up their mats, and the senior center folks push past you for their place in the next class, well, it’s a little hard to nap.
Reluctantly, I grab my stuff and walk out into a breezy but sunny 72 degree day. I find an outdoor café serving rosemary grilled chicken with roasted asparagus. I savor each herbal flavor, while simultaneously watching all the wonderful people walking by just doing what they do and going where they go.
My Thursday in heaven could have ended right then and there!
However… walking back to my car I notice a creek I must have driven over a dozen times, but never really saw before, at least not like I was seeing it now. There is a shade tree, a big ole rock large enough to sit on, a tiny little water fall…and here I am just wondering, what exactly did I do, to deserve a day like this, when the rest of the world is still at work. It doesn’t seem fair.
Seriously, I should feel guilty, but I don’t.
It helps when I see three little ducks swimming in the creek and think, as blessed as I am at this very moment, it is only right for me to “pay it forward”.
I check my purse… Cinnamon Altoids…hmmm, probably shouldn’t try that…coffee candy…won’t work…a miniature dark chocolate peanut butter cup…if it’s not good for dogs, it’s probably not a good idea for ducks. Then it occurs to me, there is still a breakfast biscuit from a quick stop market wasting away in the car. You know the kind…two bites and um, not so hungry. I run over to the car, pick it up and wait for the ducks to dash back to my little outdoor sanctuary. I toss a piece of bread into the creek…and nothing happens. I toss another piece…they don’t even look. I take a few steps in their direction. The ducks eye me suspiciously, and nothing. Okay… I give it one last try. Another hard crumb causes ripples in the water, but they arrogantly turn their backs.
Are you kidding me?
Across town in Centennial Park, ducks will just darn near grab the food right out of your hand. But these pretty little ducks just sun themselves, bathe a bit, and ignore me. Fine, I decide I will ignore them too, and take this awesome time to do some writing. No sooner have I put pen to paper than the ducks swim right up to me.
“Ah ha, I knew you would come get it,” I taunt them, looking around quickly, hoping no one heard me. I toss some more bread and once again they turn up their beaks… but this time they actually swim away…
Then I totally figure it out! These are not normal ducks. These are the three happiest and smartest ducks I have ever encountered. Their creek flows in the shadow of the largest Whole Foods Market in one of the most upscale communities in our metropolitan city. These ducks don’t eat left over convenience store breakfast biscuits. They only eat organic!! They never have to exercise, and I bet they don’t have a single commitment on the calendar.
Okay, I know, silly story, but it made me laugh.
We really don’t laugh as much as we should.
The Bible says,
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 NIV
Research shows that children laugh on average of 300 times a day while adults only laugh about 15 times. When did that happen? When exactly did we quit laughing? Even if you have to laugh at yourself (for talking to ducks), take some time to laugh, at least a little.
After all, the man who figured out how to turn barefoot beach music into a multi-million dollar empire says:
“If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.” Jimmy Buffet.