Not only have I imprinted a black phoebe, two mockingbirds, and a finch, I'm convinced that my dead mother has come back as a hummingbird and my dead grandmother and grandfather as partnered mourning doves.
While my husband and children don't believe in avian reincarnation with the same fervor as I do (read: not at all), they are kind enough to indulge me. On more than one occasion, my sons have been known to remark "hey ma, there's your grandparents" as two mourning doves have flown by.
They do this because they know that I truly believe that my birds - imprinted and ancestral - bring a ying-yang message with them. With my departed family, it's that the love we have created transcends our physical selves. With my imprinted beauties, it's that the physical -- as in being present and caring -- creates the love.
So when out of nowhere two ducks flew by my home-office window yesterday and landed in my pool, I had to wonder "who are you?" and "why are you here?"
As the ducks began their swim, I excitedly called my husband to come outside. We watched joyfully as the pair floated side-by-side, their little orange feet rhythmically kicking behind them. We giggled as the female hopped out and waddled around the perimeter while her mate continued his swim. We followed them, enthralled, as they took a stroll along our bocce ball court, unaffected by our paparazzi-like stalking.
After a while my husband went back inside the house to do his work. And though I had a list of things to do and even more things to worry about, I allowed myself to continue to be present with the ducks. I sat quietly under the gray sky and watched as they gently pecked at the grass and ducked their heads into our wood pile.
When they finally flew off as unexpectedly as they had arrived, I said goodbye, out loud, and returned to my list of things to do and my even longer list of things to worry about. Looking out my window, I silently thanked the ducks - who were just that, ducks - for showing me that sometimes being present is all you need to figure out why.