Not long ago, I was looking through some old photos that I had scanned into digital files before moving many years ago. This is a photo I’ve used before on this blog. It’s from 1985, and my pet duck Illiterate is standing in her water bowl. It strikes me now that there is a bit of sadness here.
Illie had a very long and (I believe) happy life, wandering around our back yard with our corgi (Wilberforce Arch Deacon, aka Puppy). Because she was raised with Puppy, I also think that Illie thought she was a dog. (Her whole life, she would only eat her duck food if there was a bit of dry dog food mixed in. I have no idea of the nutritional ramifications there!)
But we didn’t have a pond in our back yard. And something innate in Illie is telling her that she is supposed to spend time in water. So she’s standing in her water bowl.
The adult me knows that I loved that duck a great deal, but also now wonders if she would’ve led a happier life somewhere with a pond or lake. Somewhere that her instinct to get in and paddle away would be fulfilled.
It’s a curious thing to consider and also to extrapolate. Can I apply this to myself? Is there something in my inherent nature that isn’t being allowed to jump in the lake and paddle? Am I unknowingly standing in my own metaphorical water bowl? Are you?