In the early morning of our occasional family get-away, while waiting for the boys to wake up for breakfast, Tony and I walked to the lake just behind our casita and watched the ducks.
The lake looked so different the night before through our window.
There must have been about 40 white ducks—swimming, walking around, eating grass, and going about their business. Some three to five yellow ducklings were trailing the big ones everywhere.
I grew up with a bevy of ducks in our yard and surroundings in the province. My grandmother who lived next door had all sorts of animals. She also had honking geese and snorting pigs, plus a number of cackling chickens and crowing roosters.
And I took them all for granted.
Because they were always there, I never bothered to look closely and know more about their behavior.
Life uprooted me from the province and now I reside in Manila where there are no ducks nor any of the animals my grandmother so lovingly cared for.
That's why on that early morning by the lake, I was surprised to discover that ducks can fly!
They flew above the lake and effortlessly landed on the water where they glided gracefully from bank to bank.
It was my first time, too, to see ducks mating; first time to watch how a mother duck takes care of her ducklings; first time to notice that they eat fresh grass.
"Were have you been?" Tony asked. He is a Manila boy through and through but knows everything about ducks, geese, pigs, chickens and roosters.
Well, I know more about tigers and predators in the wilds, which National Geographic regularly shows on TV. But domesticated animals? I should really spend time knowing them more, and knowing how much grace the Lord sent my animal-loving grandmother who, in the absence of her married nine children, spent precious time with her pets.
Grandma was a fiercely loyal woman of God who, in her best baro at saya, was always the earliest in church Sunday after Sunday. Now I know the source of her joy in her twilight years. She delighted in those animals till her last breath.
Like the little, trivial acts we do outdoors in this electronic age that cages us indoors, duck watching is illuminating.