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The Duck With the Broken Beak

If there’s a perk to travel, it’s the opportunity to encounter things you would never see in your daily existence. When you pause from your frenzied attempt at getting things done long enough to observe what’s hiding in plain sight around you. On this particular trip, it began with a glimpse of a duck swimming in the pool at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando.

It seems this duck that was hit by a car at some point, resulting in a broken beak and an inclination to live a more comfortable life. The story goes that she had a family with some scoundrel mallard and returned with her ducklings in tow. When she became an empty nester she dropped the old mallard for another mate and now spends her days swimming in the hotel pool and walking amongst the guests looking for handouts.

At some point in her evening she flies away to spend the night elsewhere, but returns in the warmth of the day to take up her role as ducky ambassador for another day. The hotel employees are familiar with her routine and don’t blink an eye when she walks around looking for stray bits to eat. The novelty is still with the guests, as we encounter this unusual pool duck in our own time. She seems to relish every encounter, and poses for pictures as she’s no doubt done a thousand times before.

The broken beak is her unique feature, and no doubt caused her great discomfort when she had her accident. But she wears her scars proudly, showing the world that this duck is a survivor. Humans could learn a thing or two from her. Wear your scars proudly, treat everyone with respect and don’t put up with characters who don’t measure up to your standards.

These encounters are where the joy of travel resides. We move through our time and this world, chancing on these moments with a life force here and there that makes us stop in wonder. I’ll continue my journey, likely never back in this place again. But I’ll remember this scarred, friendly ambassador, poolside with her court.

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