Most days, my route to and from the sanctuary takes me over the dam. That stretch
of roadway isn’t very long, but it is a place where people speed by. The sign
announcing how fast people are actually going rarely matches the 25 mph speed
limit. I’ve always wondered what it would take for the traffic over Church Road to
slow down. The speed limit sign, the police officer sitting in our parking lot and the
occasional flock of turkeys swarming over the road never seemed to do the trick.
Going slow over Church Road was a pipe dream for those of us who go over it almost
every day. But three weeks ago, the impossible happened. For a few strange days,
every car drove below the speed limit while on that road. No one rushed down the
road or tailgated the car in front of them. Every driver and passenger took the time to look out their window. And when they did, they slowed down because the reservoir was full of ducks.
I never thought a raft of ducks would be needed to encourage everyone to slow
down. The water by the dam is usually pretty empty, with only a handful of swans or
a heron keeping watch. Yet on those chilly December days, ducks from all over made
that part of Church Road their home. Those ducks were so unexpected that everyone
driving by had to slow down to see what they were. Instead of being focused on
where they are going, everybody stared at the ducks. Since the drive over the dam
was so quick, people couldn’t see this strange sight for very long. But everyone who
drove by saw something that caused them to wonder.
As we enter a new calendar year, I hope we all get a chance to wonder. There are still many challenges facing us that require us to always be nimble, faithful, and
innovative. That need to always be “on” is really exhausting. Yet God also provides opportunities for us to slow down. We can choose to drive a few miles per hour
below the speed of life and gaze at the grace, love and beauty that are all around us. May 2022 be a year when we can lose ourselves in wonder and notice all the
unexpected ducks swimming next to us.