Ducks in a Row

We’re fortunate to live within a stone’s throw of the Morrison Knudsen Nature Center. We walk through their peaceful grounds at least once a week. This week I photographed a few ducks lined up on a tree branch in the water. I love the way it turned out. To me it looks like a watercolor painting.

When researching the saying, “Ducks in a row,” I learned something new. I learned that it comes from from ship building. Who knew?!

It turns out that a “duck” is a device that holds the keel in place while building a ship. The first step in building a ship is to get the ducks in straight row thus ensuring a straight keel.

Conversationally speaking, getting one’s ducks in a row means to ensure that all of the small details or elements are accounted for and in their proper positions before embarking on a new project.

Are your ducks in a row? Click To Tweet

Are your ducks in a row?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

58 thoughts on “Ducks in a Row

  1. I think so.

    The most important thing in getting major alignment from people is to get your values sorted and agreed.

    1/ Individual life
    2/ Individual liberty – within the context of responsible actions in social and ecological contexts.

    Got those two ducks lined up,
    With the keel straight, we can get into constructing the hull! (my maternal granddad was a ships captain of a sailing vessel, and a competent ship builder, I had 17 years at sea, and have built a few small boats).

  2. I didn’t know that either, Laurie. I don’t think we can ever truly say we have all our ducks in a row. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected!

  3. I hadn’t heard of that expression before: how interesting! Thank you for sharing this and your gorgeous picture: it wouldn’t be out of place in an impressionist gallery!

  4. That is a remarkable photo, love it! I too got to go to a small metro nature preserve near Columbus, Ohio, over the weekend with two grandsons and their mum. That city has it’s environmental ducks in a row with numerous nearby parks preserving natural landscapes: in that flat land, no mountains or vast rivers or astounding wildlife, just the ordinary wildlife of a small community, but protected from the onslaught of highways and high rises. It was a nice local excursion at days end before starting dinner and waiting for daddy to come home. 🙂

  5. Isn’t that funny how you can say something for so long and have no idea where it came from. Thanks for the education, Laurie. As for getting my ducks in a row….sometime they have a mind of their own. But I try! 😀

  6. Love, love your ducks in a row photo. I would definitely frame that one!
    The origins of “ducks in a row” is new to me as well. Now, I will always have a straight keel in my mind when I hear it.

    In my life and work, the following help me keep my ducks in a row:
    > clear and strong values
    > a sense of purpose / mission
    > identifying desired outcomes
    > knowing what’s primary (imperatives)
    > creating a plan / strategies
    > gathering resources and support
    > staying the course / working the plan

    and, of course, caring about/ nurturing those other ducks on the branch with me (as well as those ducks who haven’t found a branch yet).

  7. Wonderful ‘watercolor’ photo and post, Laurie! I seem to have most ducks in a row these days; however, there always seems to be one (or two) that veer out of the row. I notice when I gently steer them back, all is well. Cher xo

    • Cher — You’re right about “GENTLY steering them back.” I’ve learned (the hard way) that when I try to use force, it stirs up the whole flock and then they ALL scatter hither and yon.

  8. I love your photo, especially the water with all the wigglies and light. My ducks start out in a row, but tend to wander when something off to the side catches their attention. They might need a leash.

  9. Hmmm…I didn’t know that, thanks for the information. I always thought it meant that like a Mother Duck, you line up your priorities the she lines up her ducklings. You may be correct about the ship building ( I know you are!) but I like my imagery better. Who doesn’t like a line of baby ducks? Love the photo, reflections tell a whole ‘nother story.

    • I thought of a mother duck and her babies first too. Good image! With all the road construction around these parts, one of the morning jobs of my neighbor is to scoop baby ducks out of the drains where they they got caught trying to follow Mama across the road. I think he said he had 41 rescue babies on last Friday morning!!

  10. Things are just starting to settle down a bit around here after a major storm a month ago so I haven’t even known where my ducks were. Think I found a couple of them this week so maybe I can start getting them back in a row. 🙂

  11. No! My ducks are scattered all around just like those Canadian geese on the Greenbelt, and everywhere else in between, and Mr. D’s chickens and rooster, the latter of which I found once again in our driveway! But I was able to focus straight on to your unbelievably beautiful and creative photograph of the ducks, including the lovely natural background at M-K!! What an amazing piece of art your photo would be in oils, too! But just keep enjoying those feathered friends of yours because the current plan is to tear down the Fish and Game headquarters next door, and then build a bigger facility, the construction of which I am not sure that the ducks will “stand for” for long!! 🙂

    • Jan — Mr. D told me that “the chickens/roosters will be gone on Tuesday.” That was three Tuesdays ago.

      I had no idea they’re rebuilding the Fish and Game headquarters!

  12. Lovely picture and I thought about Terrill painting it! Impressionistic thoughts too. My ducks feel just about right at the present ( well not quite, no fix on the blog site yet – the 8th I hope) But several of my ducks on branches are having a hard time right now. In the past two weeks 5 women have told me that they want to find a new job – they just can’t stand going into work right now, stress and horrible supervisors, I think for those in their 60s this can make one feel very out of alignment! Good sharing here

    • Patricia — Terrill would knock it out of the park in painting form, wouldn’t she?!

      I feel terrible for anyone who’s unhappy in their work situation, especially because of poor management.

  13. I had every single duck in the straightest row you’ve ever seen.
    BUT (there’s always a but) today I smashed and broke my toe and had to cancel an upcoming trip so I could elevate the leg and keep refreshing the ice packs to keep the swelling down.

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