This article appeared in the August 20, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Amid world storms, a message of joy from an inflated floating duck

Kenn Tompkins/New England Cable News/AP
A giant rubber ducky floats in Belfast Harbor, Aug, 17, 2021, in Belfast, Maine. Harbor Master Katherine Given says it's a mystery who put it there, but that the 25-foot-tall duck doesn't pose a navigational hazard so there's no rush to shoo it away.

Where does joy come from?

OK, that’s a deep question. But for many people living in Belfast, Maine, one answer this week is simple: from a duck. Specifically, a 25-foot-tall inflated duck that mysteriously appeared floating in Belfast Harbor, with a hint of a smile on its orange beak and the letters J-O-Y emblazoned across the front of its yellow body. 

“Everybody loves it,” Belfast Harbor Master Katherine Given told the Bangor Daily News. “I have no idea who owns it, but it kind of fits Belfast. A lot of people want to keep it here.”

Thanks to tweets and news reports, the uplift has spread beyond Maine. My thought: It could hardly come at a better time. 

The plight of thousands seeking safety in Afghanistan. Struggles in the aftermath of earthquake in Haiti, floods in North Carolina, and fires in the West and around the world. The pandemic’s shifting challenges.

The world can’t run from such problems. The Monitor has you covered on them. And we as individuals may have roles to play in addressing them. That duck doesn’t help if it’s a mere distraction. 

But we’ve all seen how even glimmers of joy can lighten heavy moments and help us see paths forward. This buoyant feeling is often tethered to other qualities like gratitude, hope, courage, which can be vital to progress.

Not everyone will get a boost from yellow ducks. But there’s good reason for joy to stay in our headlines right alongside the stories of still-unmet aspirations for peace, health, and security.

This article appeared in the August 20, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 08/20 edition
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