Dr Susan Corso, a sister wise woman Queen from Boston publishes a weekly inspirational gem. She calls this series “Seeds.” This one struck me as being a perfect and perfectly delightful description of the sovereign Self.
Seeds XII, 23
By Dr. Susan Corso
Remember the Ugly Duckling? She’s in one of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. A young swan loses her mother and is adopted by a family of ducks. The Ugly Duckling is despised for its clumsiness until it grows into a swan. The moral of the story is that the unpromising child in a family can turn out to be the most brilliant of all.
Ducklings got me riffing on ducks. One of my mother’s favorite things to do and favorite aphorisms was “Get your ducks in a row.” Why, I always wanted to know, did ducks have to be in a row? Later in life, she accused me of her worst idea of an offense. “Susan,” she said, “when you see a bunch of ducks, you don’t put them in a row. You just say, ‘Whee, ducks!'” I made her life a living hell.
And then there’s Make Way for Ducklings, a children’s picture book written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey. First published in 1941, the book tells the story of a pair of mallard ducks who decide to raise their family on an island in the lagoon in Boston Public Garden, a park in the center of Boston, Massachusetts. The book’s popularity led to the construction of a statue by Nancy Schön in the Public Garden of the mother duck and her eight ducklings.
What’s the thread that links all three duck ideas? Well, try this on. The swan might have been an ugly duckling, and even though she was adopted, she couldn’t have adapted if she’d tried. She was uniquely herself. Me, too. “Whee, ducks!” is the perfect response to ducks as far as I’m concerned. And the ducklings in Boston made a space for themselves. Each of our protagonists were their own ducklings; each of ourselves is our own protagonist.
This reminds me of a powerful duckling true story that I had the honor to witness, about the powerful assertion of personal sovereignty:
I have offered programs at The Queens Farm Museum for many years. This is a colonial Dutch farm that has been in constant operation since pre-revolutionary times. Every spring is a teeming, squealing celebration of new life as the baby chicks, ducklings, kids, lambs, piglets and bunnies are born.
One year something happened to the mother duck and most of her newborns. One duckling did live and was promptly adopted by the mother turkey who took excellent care of her. So far so good.
Until, that is, the day that her biologic imperative moved the baby chick toward the pond. The mother turkey became frantic and chased her away from the dangerous water. Turkeys, after all, don’t swim.
This began a desperate struggle between mother and daughter, each one compelled to follow her own innate true path — the duck to water and the turkey mom to protect her young from drowning. The battle was funny and frustrating at the same time.
Eventually the duckling grew old enough and strong enough to assert her will, and swam to her heart’s content. I can only assume that the turkey grew to accept the situation and relax, content that she did her maternal best.
I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading. It vexes me to choose another guide.
– Emily Bronte
Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.