This is a silly story but I think it illustrates perfectly the melodramatic mind which causes us so much suffering.
There is a big pond in the back yard. Over the last few years many visitors have come and gone. Ducks of all shapes and sizes, herons and of course it’s full of frogs. When spring starts it sounds like a tropical jungle.
A few months ago a very beautiful duck arrived. He was mainly black and white and spent a lot of time diving. We eventually decided, after looking at many pictures, he was a male ring tailed duck. Not that he knows or cares what he’s called. Over time more ducks turned up to visit. Some even had the same coloring as him. But none stayed.
At first I was happy just to look at him through the binoculars. He was the first thing I looked for when I got up in the morning. He looked very cuddly somehow which isn’t what you’d expect from a duck. Then I started to wonder why he was alone. Spring was coming and I wanted him to have a happy family. He wasn’t at all friendly with the visiting ducks. Although I must admit I don’t know anything about how ducks socialize.
From wondering about his possible loneliness, I started to feel sorry for him.
Then one day I looked out and he was gone. I felt desolate. Where had he gone? Then I remembered the eagles. They’d been around a lot sitting in the high cottonwood trees. Even though I couldn’t see them I could hear their eerie calls which I always think sound so light and almost feminine for such powerful birds.
I immediately decided he’d been eaten by eagles. I’d seen them diving for ducks in the sea. I was really sad. I decided nature was just too cruel. I went off nature. There’s no safety for ducks. I went into a decline. Well to be accurate I felt a bit sad, quite sad and the impersonal power of nature hung heavy over me. Looking out on the pond I felt like the pond, empty.
Two days later I got up and he was back. I was happy again. I loved the eagles again. I bore them no grudge.
So it wasn’t a lot of suffering – just medium angst. But the melodramatic mind could be seen in all its glory.
When he left a few weeks later, having been made aware of the power of my thoughts to interpret and dramatize, I just missed him and hope he’ll come back next year with a family.