Patiently Teaching Ducks To Swim


There are two kinds of change: the change we resist, and the change we long for. When it comes to the changes I am eager for (losing weight, finishing a quilt that’s taken me months of work,  re-organizing my studio), I want instant results. I want to be done yesterday.

Instant changes are rare. Even changes that seem fast, like getting a new hair style or buying a new piece of furniture, are only symbolic of the deeper changes we are interested in, the slow below-the-surface changes we are trying to announce to the world with our new frills.

Lately, I’ve been dealing with things that take much more time than I would like. Healing my body is a slow process, and while I am making the recommended changes, my body seems to be in no hurry to respond. Staying patient as I go through this process is proving tough.

Fortunately, I came across this quote:

One does not advance the swimming abilities of ducks by throwing the eggs in the water. — Eduard Douwes Dekker

The insanity of teaching a duck to swim while it’s still in the egg makes this a powerful statement for me. I’m reminded that some change has steps to it, and that progress can only occur if the steps are followed in the proper order. You can’t jump ahead and expect good results.

My healing is going to take time. Today, I’m leaving the eggs in the nest. I’m making sure that they are warm and safe, and giving them the time they need to develop. Swimming lessons can wait until after they’ve hatched and grown feathers. I will leave each step to its appropriate time and wait until it’s complete before I move on to the next thing.

All I have to do is wait. Patiently.


Published by

Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

2 thoughts on “Patiently Teaching Ducks To Swim”

    1. As soon as I finished this post, I went into Totally Impatient Land. I write this stuff to help remind myself of my goal, but I don’t always achieve it. 😉


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