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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wednesdays Wisdom: Ducks also set the best example for how we should get along. (A follow-up to my 11-9-16 blog entry.)

One week ago, Wednesday, November 9th 2016, was the day after the 2016 USA presidential election. This date happened to be three days after The New York City Marathon, which is when I saw ducks swimming in the Hudson River (two of them can be seen in the images top this entry).

I have always marveled at the way ducks look as if they are gliding across bodies of water, without a care in the world, but of course just like any other living creature, ducks have real cares as well as real concerns. Besides, ducks are not exactly gliding across the water! Their orange feet are working just as hard as any Marathon runner. I plan to provide some interesting facts about how ducks make use of their feet when they swim in a subsequent blog entry, however, today's topic re ducks has to do with an expression associated with this animal type. The expression I am thinking of is the idiom known as "like water off a duck's back."

According to Idioms by Free Dictionary, the expression refers to the times when one responds to adversary with a sense of calm, and he/she continues on with life in a manner where the turmoil does not have a negative impact on his/her comings or goings. Ducks became the example for this ability to react calmly because the expression alludes to the fact that duck feathers shed water.

Idioms by Free Dictionary states,"Ducks' feathers are waterproof. The preen (or, formally, the uropygial) gland at the base of the tail produces oil that spreads and covers the birds' outer coat so that water forms droplets on, but does not permeate, the feathers. That's why a critical remark that doesn't bother the person for whom it was intended rolls off like water off a duck's back."

I was not surprised to learn that ducks are "constructed" in a manner that allows water to roll off of them, because Cam, my visiting cardinal informed me of this when I inquired about her ability to stand in the rain, which she is doing in the following picture (taken in my urban garden).

I had wanted to offer her an umbrella, but she declined, explaining to me that her bird type, as well as many bird types, have a type of oil on their feathers that allows water to glide off of them. Cam also told me that a number of bird types can stand in the rain, without much incident, for the very same reason. A couple of mourning doves, seen in the picture below are an example of this.

The photos of a rain-soaked Cam as well as rain-soaked mourning doves are from Cam's book, Words In Our Beak Volume One

In this book, Cam goes into more details related to how birds maintain their feathers in order to withstand rain. Birds withstanding rain, including ducks, the bird type who are the inspiration behind the idiom, "like water off a duck's back," are on my mind today more than ever today, which as I stated earlier is exactly one week after the day following the 2016 presidential election.

The angry rhetoric that permeated the news and hung in the air on that morning still continues. But on that day I did discover (quite by chance) a video of Ellen DeGeneres's monologue in which she responded to the results. The essence was that "animals set the best example for how we should get along," which I posted in my Wednesday's Wisdom (WW) series segment for 11-9-16

DeGeneres's monologue was filled with a philosophy of the need to be hopeful, as well as the urgent need together for folks to work together and get along. But her attitude does not seem to be one folks are willing to take. There have been violent demonstrations in New York City, where I live, as well as throughout the United States (according to the non-stop news). As of now, it seems our country can hardly be called the United States, for we are hardly united.

It is very troublesome and toxic to see anger and resentment permeate through society at anytime, especially in these days preceding Thanksgiving which as of this entry is eight days away!

For not only do animals set the best example for "how we should get along," they also set an example for how we should approach life, especially circumstances that repel us, and in many instances treat them as a duck would, letting water roll off our back!

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