Hundreds of ducks are released on the rice paddy adjacent my house. The ducks are scouring for food while making strange noises. They are obviously relishing the abundant supply of food in the newly-plowed, water-filled ride paddy. Lovely. A lovely sight on a restful Sunday.
My daughter Shiloh Ruthie and I watched the ducks. They are very graceful creatures on the water. Their life is so much simpler. No stress. No cares. No trouble. Yet when life is so much simpler, life could become boring too. I am not talking about the ducks anymore.
Like many people, a comfort zone is a sense of security. Yet a comfort zone when enjoyed for a long time can make us lose our steam in life. One has to go out of the comfort zone from time to time to see how the world is moving. How other people are facing difficulties and challenges. How one can help.
The ducks are only allowed near the house after harvest time when food is aplenty. They are also freed to scour for food when the paddy is filled with water after farmers have done plowing just like today. Not much challenge there, is it? They follow their leader. Somebody has to bring the flock where food is found. They enjoy the place for a time before they are herded back to their habitat. Not much thinking, too. Everything is thought of for them. It’s not a free life.
Our lives are so much better. We have a choice over things, over circumstances. Yet, we admire the ducks. Their beauty and simplicity is naturally awesome. Admirable creatures. I wonder what the ducks have to say to us – human beings. Would they have admired us for our intellect? Would they have appreciated our free spirits? Our choices? Oh well, it takes a duck to tell us.
But one thing profound about the ducks I saw today and that brings me inspiration, life could be lived simply. No unnecessary stress and trouble. It’s a new attitude. At times, we falter – it’s not easy after all. But we should decide to take on the challenge - the challenge to simplify our lives.
Note: This article was published as a column in 2007.