Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Ducks Made it

I was in a bad mood. I can't even remember why.
Brandon and I were at the intersection of 900 east and 6600 south, heading somewhere, I can't remember - it doesn't matter now.
The intersection is a big one. It's a four-lane road, and the speed limit is 45 mph, so naturally, most go around 55.
We were the first in the left-hand lane, waiting for the light to turn green.
And then I saw them.
A mama duck, with six little ducklings.
They were trying to cross the massive intersection.
The babies followed their mother unceasingly, that silly imprinting on their brains when they were born told them that no matter what, they will follow their mama wherever she goes - even if that be to death.
And they walked right into the middle of oncoming traffic.
I watched for a moment, horrified for these defenseless animals who had no idea of the insurmountable task ahead of them: crossing four lanes on a highway at rush hour.
I screamed, covered my eyes. I wanted to cry.
My husband watched, horror-struck, giving me a play-by-play of the situation, as if I was listening to a sporting event on the radio.
--Ooh! A car swerved! They're still okay-
--They're past the first lane, still crossing-
--Woah! No way! The car managed to stop-

--They're still okay, Breezy-
My eyes were tightly shut. I was horrified for these innocent duckies.
And then something happened.
People started to stop. People who were probably in a rush to get to the grocery store, or to get to their kids soccer game, or maybe to the dentist, these people stopped.
These were people who would otherwise not let you in their lane if you put on your blinker; or perhaps they would begrudgingly let you in, then give you a dirty look as they passed.
But we all...stopped.
Just stopped. And watched.
We all stopped to help something that needed help.
And we all cheered those ducks on.
As they all made it safely to the other side of the street to a ditch that was on the side of the road, we all clapped and whooped for joy.
YEEEEEAH! I screamed. YOU MADE IT! I was no longer in a bad mood.
It was unbelievable. A miracle, that not one of those ducks had been harmed on the massive, busy highway.

Fast forward six(ish) months.

I am in inpatient treatment for anorexia for the second time.
I am in the depths of despair.
The world around me is black, and there is a heavy fog that surrounds me, suffocates me.
I want to die.
I am sitting numbly on the couch, and a nurse walks up to me.
In her hand is a yellow post-it note.
She hands it to me, and says, Your husband called, and he wanted me to write down this message for you.
I look down, and hastily scrawled in blue ink are four words:
the ducks made it
I look up at her, my eyes fill with tears.
She says, He said you'd know what he meant.

Those ducks made it despite every odd stacked up against them. They lived, and people stopped to help them. They made it.
And if they could, despite every thing against them,
I could, too.
For the rest of my four month stay in treatment, I kept that post-it note with me everyday.

Fast forward three(ish) years.
It is Thursday, June 19th.
Brandon and I are in a nearby neighborhood, taking Cade on a bike ride.
We get to a busy street and prepare to cross the road and make our way back to our home.
We look to our left, and about ten feet from us, are two women.
They're huddled in the gutter, looking down into a storm drain.
They acknowledge us, and say, There are several baby ducks trapped down here.
I look up, and see the mother duck, with two chicks following her, in a frenzy, agitated and worried about her babies.
The woman says, We can't get them out.
Tears burn my eyes behind my sunglasses.
it hurts too much, so I push my bike ahead, cross the road, and coast into our driveway.
My husband is just behind me and says, Should I go back there and try to save the ducks?
I say. No, you can't save them. There's nothing you can do.
I feel helpless and angry that these ducklings are going to die, but it hurts too much to think about.
I walk into our house, and flip on the TV.
Twenty minutes pass by, and I think, Where is Brandon?
I call his phone. No answer.
I call his parent's house. No answer.
I'm a little worried now. But mostly angry.
I pick up Cade, and walk outside with him. Brandon's car is in the driveway, as is mine.
BRANDON! I yell. Bwann-on! Cade yells.
I can't find him. And I get angrier.
Why would he just leave, I fume? He knows I need him right now. He knows I'm depressed and hurting and shouldn't be alone.
Ten, maybe twenty more minutes pass.
And then Brandon walks in the house, goes straight to the sink.
I need to wash my hands, he says.
I regard him cooly. I am angry with him.
He says, casually, I saved the baby ducks.
What? I say this unbelievably.
Yeah, he says. The women weren't strong enough to lift up the sewer grate, but I moved it. And it took awhile, but I was able to get all seven chicks and take them back to their mother.
Those other women had been out there for a couple hours. They'd even called the fire department and animal control and no one ever came. But I saved them, Brie, I saved them.
He seems to be saying, I can help save you, too, if you'll let me. And then: I knew it would make you happy to know

the ducks made it.

I thought to myself later that night, You gave up on those ducks. Those silly, stupid, resilient creatures. How could you give up on them?
And then
How could you give up on yourself?

Yesterday it was Saturday. My mom came to my house in the morning, intent on getting me out of my bed and my dark, all-encompassing depression.
I open the door to her knock.
You've got to come out here and see this, she says excitedly.
I wearily pick up Cade and walk out to the backyard with her.
And there, floating in the midst of the fountain being built in the backyard, is
the mama duckie, with all nine of her babies, safe and sound.
The ducks made it, I thought.
I smile for what seems the first time in a long while.
And I knew she had shown up to tell me that she and her babies had made it,
I could, too.


Devon said...

I don't really have anything to say...there's just a warm fuzzy feeling radiating on the inside right now - for the ducks...and for you.

I love you

Jackie said...

This post was beautiful, that is really all I can say Brie. Yes, you can do it and you are doing it. And you are worth it. Just like the ducks.

xo Jackie

Heather said...

I'm in tears. You've got such a supportive and wonderful family....and, mind you, I think mother-nature has reached out to help you as well. Thanks for sharing this story. It's one I don't think I'll ever forget.


kristin said...

That was beautiful. Those stories about the ducks were very moving.

One time, I was walking on campus when I noticed a mother duck and her ducklings in one of the campus fountains. The ducklings were unable to get out of the fountain and the fountain was causing some of the ducklings difficulties, so I went in and plucked them out. It was amazing.

Brie, you can do it! You can do it all night long! ;)

Take care, my friend! :)

jana bananas said...

I'm in tears too. This was such a touching story and so beautifully written.

I think this is a story that will stick in my mind too.

Thank you, Brie.

brydelle said...

that was so beautiful--a really well written piece of poetic prose. I think perhaps my favorite thing I've ever read of yours. It just . . . it was just what I needed to hear right now. I'm going to remember this. Thanks, Brie. And good luck.

KC Elaine said...

so, so touching and beautifully written. Yes, you can make it.

Melisa said...

Brie, I found your blog again and for me just at the right time. I too needed a duck moment. You are so inspiring! Loved the post. Wish I could write like you:)

Krista said...

Thank you Brie! I hope you can feel like this duckling when times are hard.

racher said...

i heart brie.

Abby said...

This is beautiful. It's rather astonishingly beautiful, in fact. Loves you.

Stacy said...

Brie made it... she is making it.

My face is wet and my mind is blurry with so many thoughts... but I am happy. I smile inside and out... just for you Brie. I wish I could just hug you!
(I am pregnant and emotional... give me a break)

side note... what a wonderful husband to make sure to let you know in any way he can that "the ducks made it" Total props Brandon!

Tanya said...


I am in tears myself. The idea of the ducks and everyone stopping...and knowing that everyone is willing to help. Not just for the ducks, but for you, for us.
I need a duck moment too...but Brie, you can make it and there are a lot of people around willing to support you through it all. You are loved so deeply it amazes me. are wonderful, and you have a wonderful family.

Savannah said...

Alright...I'm not much of a crier...but pretty sure there are tears falling from my chin. Thanks for sharing this amazing story. It should be included in a recovery book someday :) Love you Brie...I'm glad that you smiled.

burningsteady said...

Totally made me cry. Thank you for sharing.

Vickyann said...

The ducks are brave, they face challenges head on and so does your husband and so do you.

The ducks made it and so can you.


zubeldia said...

I adore ducks, and I adore you Brie Brie.

Katherine said...

what a special series of events and how wonderful that you can recognize the beauty and significance behind them!

i love you

Emily said...

That's right, Brie- the ducks made it. And so can you! I believe in you.

I didn't cry, but I am definetly filled with warm fuzzies. You are an excellent writer. Thank you for sharing this piece with us!

Jordan and Amy said...

Hey Brie! We haven't heard much from you and Brandon so I decided to see if you had a blog, and there you were! Anyway, I hope all is well and I hope we can get together soon. Maybe another trip to the fair? Talk to you soon!

Simply Me said...


I am coming out of the proverbial blogging closet to say that this post had me in tears, it is such a beautiful story. Also, your husband has raised the bar against which all of my future dates will be measured - I blame him for my future spinsterhood.

I wandered over here from Zubeldia's blog - she is a dear friend both here in blog-land and in real life, but I hadn't yet had the courage to post - I just had a secret blogging crush from afar and remained too intimidated to post here (wow, how creepy do I sound?).

Anway, I had to let you know that I have a ridiculous amount of admiration for you - for the issues you are tackling, for the love you have for your family, and for the fact that you are dealing with everything with such honesty and courage.

...okay, that is kind of awkward for a first introduction, but I couldn't read this and not reply.

And yes, like the ducks, I have faith that you too will make it.

All the best,

Tiptoe said...

That was a wonderful story. I love moments when there is something out there that gives us a sign of confidence and hope. Keep strong!

Keely said...

Thank you so much for sharing. It was so meaningful.It's just one of those days when you just need to hear something uplifting. (hug) I know you can do this Brie. (And your husband sounds like an amazing guy too.)

Arielle said...

This is an amazing post. An inspiring one. A POIGNANT one.

Thank you so much for sharing it. :)

Your husband is wonderful and so are you.

Love to the ducks and to you.

Much love,

Brett said...

I love you twin sis.


Courtney said...

I don't know what I could possibly add that hasn't already been said. I've been in a bit of a funk myself so thank you for this beautiful reminder to never give up hope.

Kathy with a K said...

It's about accepting help. Ducks made it; but needed help. Needed to accept the help. It's so hard to do sometimes....when you're not a duck. :)
Seriously, a great story. Precious and inspiring. Like you my dear!

b said...

Wow. I am overwhelmed with the kindness of everyone's comments. I found this post to be greatly inspired...and I'm very happy that it seems to have helped so many of you, too, as it has done for me.

For those of you who have never before commented on my blog...Tiptoe, Renate, etc, THANK YOU. I can't wait to check out your blogs...

Things are desperately, terribly difficult right now, and I can't pinpoint why. I have no energy to even blog, which for me, I mean...I need BLOGXYGEN on a daily basis to survive, you know? And now I can't write, and I can't read others...I can barely check my email...things are tough. I'm hanging in there, though, and pray that things can get better soon. In the meantime, thank you, thank you, for your love and support. I have the greatest friends.

With much love,

Jodi said...

Brie this totally made me cry. I needed this.

I know things are rough right now but...

The ducks made it. You can too.

kristin said...

Feel better, Brie. And take care.

Love ya, girly! :)

Jackie said...

Brie, I love you. You will get through this, just like you have gotten through all the hard times in the past. You are too strong to not get through it.

xo Jackie

Amber Larsen said...

I... Wow...Wow is all I can say to that post. I rarely find people that write that well. It's like you are typing the conversations I've had in my head for the last 5 years! I'm inspired to do some writing! Thanks for the story, girl!

b said...

My dad loved this piece so much he sent it into the editor of Deseret News, a local paper in SLC that's huge. The editor is really interested in publishing it...hmmm. Could be very cool! I'll let you know if it ever happens...

BrookeBW said...

does this work?

BrookeBW said...

Yeah, finally, I managed to sign up for an account. I signed up earlier under my email address and apparently forgot my password. So I used John's email.

Any-hoo....that was a beautiful story! I hadn't read it last night and Melisa (friend from HS Melisa) asked if I had read it yet. I hadn't. She told me to go and read it because I will cry my eyes out. Well, I did. You are such a good storyteller, you definitely have a lot of mom's talent in that area. I love that and will think of baby ducks when I want to give up (which is usually on a super-cyclic process). Love ya.

b said...


The ducks freaking made it again. Husband just called and told me saved 11 more in another storm drain out by his work. He put them all in a box and the mama duck freaked out and followed him and he released them in a field.

Poor crazy duckies. Good thing they have my amazing husband. :)

Tiptoe said...

Thought you might find this interesting. It is food for thought if anything. From the book Animal Speak by Ted Andrews:

"The duck is probably the most common waterfowl. Because of its connection to water, it is linked to the feminine energies, the astral plane, and to the emotional state of humans. Water is necessary for all life on earth. Nothing can live without it. Ducks can remind us to drink the waters of life as well as to nurture our own emotional natures...All ducks have a grace upon water, and as a totem they can help you to handle your own emotions with greater grace and comfort. They serve to teach you how to maneuver through various waters of life..."

"Julia" said...

I love ducks! This post really connected with me, too. There have been so many times when my family and I have saved animals that wouldn't have made it otherwise.
I've always wondered-- if I can give ducks and cats and mice and dogs a chance, why can't I give myself one?

Telstaar said...

Oh my gosh, do you mind if I print this and place it in my quote book? (You get the credit)... this is something I very VERY much want to remember....

Is that okay?

Love Telle xo