The Duck’s Feathers

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“If you never spread your wings, you will never fly.”


Photo by shontz photography on Unsplash

The duckling had been incubating in its egg for about a month. It had overgrown its protective shell, and it was time to see the world. The ducking begins to stretch its neck and wings, breaking the shell and seeing the sun’s light for the first time. This newborn was breathing in the air of the world for the first time. It had begun its journey to freedom. The little quacker shook of the fluid of the egg from its feathers. It began getting used to its little legs and moving its muscles. The first creature it sees is the mother duck. Immediately, he imprinted upon his mother. In a world of so much uncertainty, where everything is new, he needed a guardian. Someone to help he learn the ins and outs of life as a duck. Little did this duck know, the world sucks.

Literally the first step of being a duck is diving off a tree. Could you imagine if we had to leap off a cliff, ten hours after birth? “Oh, hi mom, KAY, BYE!” And plummet to the Earth. Yeah. We’d all be dead. The Greeks tried throwing children off cliffs. This was actually to kill kids. History would suggest we aren’t good at cliff diving.

But the ducklings must begin its life with this challenge. The mother, his guardian, leaves the nest and glides to the ground. The duckling, knowing no other creature to trust, must follow. But remember, if you never spread your wings, you will never fly. The duckling leaps and spreads his little wings. He feels the air rushing through his feathers. But they aren’t catching wind. No. He looks nowhere near as graceful as mother duck. He just falls. And falls. And falls. And SPLAT. Lands directly on his face.

What a sense of humor the world has; that this is how the duckling must begin its life, mere hours after it has breathed air.

But there is a lesson in this duckling’s story. You must take the leap and spread your wings. And no, the first time you spread your wings, you may not catch the wind. You may crash to the ground. But guess what? That duckling bounces back. When he lands, he gets up, finds his mother, and keeps on going. The first time he spreads his wings, he fails. He JUST watched his mom spread her wings and glide through the air. But he couldn’t do it. Yet, he doesn’t get discouraged. He doesn’t give up. And if he never took that leap? He would never survive. He’d never get food. He’d never learn to swim. He’d never wag his tail or quack. And he’d never learn to fly.

Photo by Ken Treloar on Unsplash

You see, you are going to fail in the beginning. You’ll fall directly on your face. It’s going to hurt. 50-60% of ducklings don’t live to full quackhood. How many people crush their goals in life? It’s a hell of a lot less than 50%. That’s because when most people fail, they quit. They scrape their knees and decide that’s the excuse they have to give up. But every duckling must leap from that nest to become a full-fletched waddling quacker.

You will eventually learn to fly. You will get your flight feathers. You will learn to flap your wings, and leave the Earth under you. One day you will travel continents during those big migrations.

It all starts with that first leap.

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