We are lucky enough to live in a part of the world that is also a home to ducks, and we are familiar with the image of their cute feathery bottoms sticking up in the air as their heads disappear under the surface of the water. Perhaps you’ve even taken a moment to wonder what they see in their underwater world, and if they will resurface with a fish or an insect in their beaks. As we observe them, we see that ducks are denizens of three worlds—the world of air, the world of water, and the world of earth. As such, they have adapted themselves to be able to swim, fly, and walk, and they seek and find nourishment in more than one place. They are symbols of versatility and can inspire us to explore our own ability to adapt and find nourishment in a variety of places.
Ducks are able to float, swim, and dive into the water, fishing for food. They can walk on the ground, eating vegetation, seeds and insects, and they fly in the air to travel long distances relatively quickly. Equipped with webbed feet that are equally good at paddling and walking, as well as wings to fly, ducks seem very comfortable in just about any natural environment. Next time you see a duck bottom poking up out of the water, you might be inspired to examine your own ability to both float on the surface and to dive beneath it. In many traditions, water symbolizes the emotions—to duck our heads into our emotions means we are able to surrender our minds to our hearts, to go into the watery realm of feeling and see what there is to see, often coming to the surface with nourishment and treasure.
We also share the duck’s ability to get solid ground under our feet by connecting to the earth on which we live simply by walking on it. And finally, when we reside in our spirits, we fly above the mental, emotional, and material realms, free of all the ties that bind us to this earth, traveling faster and farther than we ever thought possible.
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