I saw ducklings today, swimming along after their mother. They skittered across the surface of the water like leaves blown by the wind. They are bits of golden fluff, striped with brown and spiked from the wet. How does that fuzz turn into sleek feathers? How do those skimpy waving nubs become spreading wings? Their mother is so much bigger than they are, like a creature of another species. I do not remember the days when my mother towered over me like an invincible fortress. We are the same size now, and I am no more breakable than she is.
The swans were at the mill pond, too, white and gracious like angels on the water, with their cygnets between them. On the lawn, the Canada geese were herding their grazing babes, yellow on green. I never knew so many birds deigned to dawdle with their young in the domain of the earthbound humans.