Monday, January 9, 2012

my favourite things/ Sarah

the footprints
in the snow
her very own
I'd know them anywhere

toed in
stepping so rhythmically
making a steadfast path
with purpose
I could tell she had thrown abandon
out the chicken coop
and had been merrily
on her way

I know my girl

I followed her steps
to the hill and then called to her

her path...
my heart...

how does a muscovy duck
squeeze so tightly into one's heart?

Sarah was our duckling to look after
at a friend's farm
18 years ago

it was
3 muscovies
and 4 rouens
in total

they started as eggs
we watched them hatch
they saw us
and called us mom
we fed
and watered them
loved them
and they just naturally
came home with us
our friend's farm

they needed a mom
and were only a year old
or was it two
when they arrived with 5 horses
and some goats
when my home schooled kids
became their proud owners
and mom the stable hand
watching kids
and animals grow
in favour and stature
with God and man

'my' Sarah now

because the home schooled ones
have flown the coop
left the nest
followed God's heart
and what's left is just us...
horses and goats
rabbits and chickens

my husband

we have passed every day together
Sarah and I
for 18 years
minus a few days or hours
for holidays

so when I thought she was tucked away last night with the others
certain she would be there
though I didn't see her white brightness peeking through
the mottling of the rouens or hens deep under the feeder
tucked away warm in the sweet hay
though I checked out back in their fenced day area
for her just in case
and didn't see her...
and thought surely she was snuggled deep
and safe
like every other night
for all those many many years

I should have known that our chinook weather
had given her Spring fever
where for 18 years
she would be
the risk taker
would leave the coop
search out a nesting ground
play in the creek on the way
do some skinny dipping
do some feather preening until she sparkled
do some bottom munching...

she saw the fox before it saw her
( I know because I saw his tracks that stopped before they reached the turn in the creek where she sat hiding)

the fox had returned the way he had come emptyhanded
she had stayed all night

feathers groomed
belly filled
safe in the bend of the creek
though the moon came out full
she sat in a little nook
in the cool of the stream

I had searched everywhere
I had sung her name out over the hillsides
checked all the trees

She had flown to the neighbour's farm and back once
years ago
in her youth
before she believed that there was
no place like home

I checked all the hay stacks
all the mangers
under every feeder
every stall
beside every farm animal
she was our beloved prodigal
who loved to visit everyone
but would
always come back...

she always came back
always remembered where home was

she had no chains
but had lived free all these years

I called the dogs
and said find Sarah
I opened the gate to the creek area
their noses led them to her trail
that disappeared
in flight

she loved to fly

the dogs flew through the snow
past the bend in the creek to the fox trail
I watched from behind

and then I saw her

tucked cozy under the banks edge
she was a smart one
safe from the fox

she didn't move when I called her name
I called her one last time

she was so still
so perfect

I saw where she had landed
after her flight 
where she had made a new path
with the same toed in
rhythmic determined steps
her path was beautiful
that beauty locked in my memory

I could see how she stopped at the creek's edge
jumped off the snow bank and glided as she touched the water
her heart merry

I saw her and knew that her bit of glory
had taken flight

her eyes were still open
still so much light
her neck set so gracefully along her back
wings folded safe around her
she looked like she had sat calm
restive unafraid

I'm afraid I cried long and hard
I held her against my breast and pulled my hoody over her wet frame to warm her
to bring back that bit of glory

the dogs came to my side
and stayed with me
they had no words
no tail wag
just presence
faithul eyes watching

have you ever done CPR to a muscovy?
her little lungs filled so easily
I tried so hard
so gently
such a crazy mom
and then I just had to let her go
and let God

goodbyes are never easy
for me at least

I feel I should have been there for her in her darkest hour
only a bird
but even God sees every sparrow that falls
I felt responsible

she was old
she was so peaceful
she was so beloved
I'll miss her
God knows all this
He holds us all
in His bosom
room for all
room for the little baby girl at TLC
fighting for her life
us fighting to keep her breath here
God holding us and saying
it is well
it is finished
death is swallowed up in Victory
death won't hurt anymore
His beloved Son finished the task
and tells us there is room for us all
in His Father's House
He gives breath and takes it away
and has power
to give it back again

Bethany said
It was her time
she lived long and well
she was a good bird

just a wee duck
beloved all the same
Lord thank you for

my favourite things

"maybe if more people had a duck in their life, maybe we wouldnt be all so mad at each other" ~ Joe the Trucker (Trucking Duck)


  1. Oh Susan, so sorry for your loss. But thankful it was not at the hands of the fox. What a beautiful tribute to a feathered friend. Love you!

  2. I didn't know ducks lived so long. It must be incredibly difficult to lose someone that has been with you so long. She needed one last waddle through the snow, one last slide down the bank, one last rest by the gurgling creek. It seems strange to us humans how animals wander off alone to die, I think. Since Sebastian has been sickly, he chooses to sleep alone on the pillow and blanket I got him for sleeping alone. (He knew what they were for.) I LOVED this trip to the barn, through the snow, spying the footprints, being with the dogs (no tails wagging) and finally the vision of CPR on the beloved duck. You are far and away too much for me, Susan. Your compassion spills over every thing.

    Blessed to know you,

  3. my two Dawn friends... thank you for your sweet words... I needed those hugs.
    gentle hugs to Sebastian for me :)
    I think they go off to be with their Maker

  4. Oh me! I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face. I thought I was the only one who could mourn so deeply the loss of "just" a duck, or newborn kitten, or a bird. Please know I understand, and admire your compassion and love for Sara. So beautiful to read . . .as beautiful as the person you are!!!!

  5. love your heart Cora... hugs your way!

  6. I'm sorry for your loss. We've never had a duck, but when Boy Two's beloved beagle, Copper, was killed, it was a very, very dark day. And week and month. We had a little service for him; he's buried under a tree in the back yard.

    He wanted to know, of course, if Copper would be in heaven. All I knew to tell him was, "The Bible doesn't tell us that, exactly, but I'd like to think that God will surprise you when you get to Heaven. 'Cause God loves surprises."

    1. Rhonda, I believe we are well to hope they are waiting for us... God says all of creation groaneth and travaileth in pain waiting for the adoption that is the redemption of our bodies... scripture is full of the new heaven and the new earth and all the animals there... the lamb and the lion the child playing over the adder's hole...
      When tradgedy has struck here we paint a new picture in our minds eye of little goats playing on our Aunt's grand piano in heaven with green pastures flowing and the music flowing and the goats leaping and happy...I can see a little beagle doing a jig...

  7. That was beautiful... and heart wrenching. Losing anything or anyone we love in this world is difficult, even when we know God knows best. I'm sorry for your loss. I'm thankful for your heart. God bless.

    1. Floyd... thank you for sharing the pain... you would have loved her!

  8. You will never begin to understand how your words, your wisdom, HIS words spoken through you, brought such comfort to my heart. It wasn't a duck, it was my precious Daddy...and he, too, was alone in his final moments. The guilt that has ravaged my heart ever since, put to rest now, by the truth that God was there. He sees even a sparrow, He was with my father. He and God.....alone. What a peaceful comfort. What a healing (and self-forgiving) truth.

    God's richest blessings on you-

    Blessed beyond words for having been here tonight-

    1. Stacy, I also thank God for the gift of His presence; He says He will never leave us nor forsake us... His precious Spirit confirms this in my heart... I am so blessed He has brought you this peace. Here is a big hug for you. I look forward to our grand reunion on that great and wonderful day of His appearing.

  9. Oh I sit crying away. I had a muscovy for 9 years when I was a kid. I loved her so much-she was my best friend. It was hard for me to make human friends, so God gave her to me. This is a very hard thing-to lose one you have loved and known so well- I am sorry for your loss. I loved my Penny duck too, and your story has brought back the sweet, good memories for me.

    1. I just visited your post about your old home and pointed ear dog! Heart warming! God gives such good gifts in all His creature friends... something about that unconditional love they just so naturally give! So glad you had a Penny duck and a 'Stinky' (though sweet) dog :)