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I am thinking about acts of kindness today.

I was by Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin in college on a stormy day in the spring, with whitecaps lapping up on the walk by the Union Terrace. There was a baby duck that was being bashed against the concrete by the waves. I saw a duck with a row of ducklings, out further in lake. I caught the baby duck in my hands. Then I stood there, holding a small duckling, wondering how to return it to the others.

Various people at tables were watching, amused, from the terrace.

I saw a wetsuited windsurfer getting ready to head out on the lake. I approached him and asked, "How would you like to be a good Samaritin?"

He said, "Uh, I'm not sure."

I held out the baby duck. "It got separated from the rest and was getting bashed against the concrete. If you are going out, could you get it closer to the others?" I pointed the the mallard family.

He looked skeptical and agreed to try. He finished putting the windsurfer in the water and waded out, duckling in one hand and windsurfer towed in the other. The mother mallard started to alert her flock. He gently tossed the duckling towards them. It landed in the water and swam to the mallard, pressed close against her side.

The windsurfer grinned at me and waved and I waved back.


Happy solstice.

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