As I was driving down a narrow, seldom traveled back road today, late as usual, I spied something moving in the road ahead. Partially obscured by tree shadows, it wasn’t until I was nearly upon it that I recognized the object in my path as a fat black and white duck waddling toward me down the center of the road.
I squealed to a stop about 10 yards in front of the quacky quacker but undaunted, she just kept bringing it. (I assumed female gender because she exuded an illogical, unmerited superior attitude I’ve seen before.)
When she wouldn’t deviate from her preferred route straddling the center line, I laid on my horn. All she did was stop, stick her stubborn little beak in the air and park her feathered butt to roost right there. She had no pressing engagements; we could be there all day.
What was wrong with this chick? Here’s a 2-ton van versus a 5-lb bird and she thinks she can win? Steel and chrome versus webbed feet and tail feathers? C’mon!
And we both obviously felt we were in the right – that we had more right to be there and own the road than the other.
It occurred to me, as we stared each other down, halted at an impasse because neither party was willing to give an inch, that I was witnessing a metaphor of my life.
How many times am I rendered immobile by silly obstacles that I allow to hinder pursuit of my life goals? Obstacles of my own making or even small speed bumps that I allow to swell and loom over me like the Alps?
The thing blocking my path may seem like an immovable precipice to me, but in reality, it’s the size of a duck.
In trying to remove this pecking roadblock before me, horns don’t work, opponent size doesn’t matter, time is not a factor and rank is irrelevant. But there IS a way around. It just takes effort and a plan.
So I got out of the car in the 95 degree heat, walked right up to the obstinant entree, nudged her with my foot and scrambled to avoid her snapping beak. Squawking her annoyance, she finally moved, herded to the side of the road by my perseverant shooing.
My hot and sweaty lesson? Don’t waste your time playing chicken with a duck. Regardless of your formidable advantage, you won’t win unless you formulate a plan, leave your comfy air-conditioned vantage point, put a little sweat into it and execute.