From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ducks in a Row

Natural order





I saw these colorful ducks at Target last weekend. I like them, but I don't need them. I can't accumulate a big collection of spring decorations. The shed is already full of Christmas decorations. Besides, I already have the fireplace mantel ready for Easter with a cute little family of white ceramic rabbits.

The expression "get your ducks in a row" has a solid basis in duck behavior. Little ducks will follow their parent in a fairly orderly fashion, whether waddling through the grass or gliding through the water. It's a fascinating thing to see.

It's common to see even adult ducks swimming in a line or perched in a row. The same instinct for formation helps ducks fly with the flock in migration.

Herding ducks is another matter altogether, as any herd dog in competition would tell you.

In English, we mean "getting organized" when we speak of "getting our ducks in a row". Personally, I don't have a strong natural herding instinct. My ducks are usually all over the place, despite my barking at them. While I'm busy getting a couple of ducks in line, the rest of the flock wanders away.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.