By Angela Spires
“Ducks! Ducks! Wanna feed the ducks!” my daughter Aspen shouted as we walked by the river waiting on the Artown vendors. I rolled her pants legs up and let her dip her feet in the water. I squatted behind her, held one hand, as she dipped the other into a carton of oatmeal for the ducks wading nearby. The river ran¬ slow and steady, and in that moment, reminded me of my daughter.
How she flooded and raged, poured full of emotion, until it drained from her and she sank to the ground in frustration and need. She was every current: fast, slow, everything in between, whatever the mood called for, whatever she felt she needed to be in that moment, unafraid. She was gentle, laying her face against mine to kiss my cheeks as the water kissed the banks. She was still, contemplating her next move, observing her surroundings, deciding which way to flow.
Aspen attempted to throw oatmeal into the water, most of it landing on her or within a few inches. I threw it further out. The ducks moved closer. She laughed as they nipped at her toes. More were moving toward us, floating down stream, frantically swimming upstream, to the source of food. Fighting over specks of flakes, though there was enough to go around. The river was calm, allowing more ducks to come. But calm was but one of her states. She was fierce, unpredictable, and beautiful nonetheless.
Now, my daughter unknowing mirrored the ducks she fed. Above the water, she kicked her feet on the surface. Below, the ducks kicked their feet to stay afloat. And I, I admired the beauty in what the river had made for us and what I had made for the river.