I saved eight lives today - a mix of mallards, dusky browns and white ones with furry top hats. They were waddling down the sidewalk, heading to the street. For a split second I felt a familiar "ugh, no" not my problem, just keep walking, ignore.
Instead, I ran to the house where they live, buzzed the intercom yelling “the ducks are loose” and seconds later a man and woman in domestic uniform rushed out, all three of us now in pursuit of the ducks while the man shouted “le casa, le casa” and then the whole line whipped around in recognition, quacking and chattering and sprinting towards him and home.
We walked back to the house while the man and woman repeated “gracias, gracias,” the woman’s hands over her heart. The three of us stood at the gate, now safely closed, watching the ducks splash in the pond while we cobbled together English and Spanish words about how relieved we were.
These are my neighbors, all of them. They belong here just as much as I do, whether they speak a different language or even if they’re a different species. They are entitled to a home, peace and safety, and happiness equal to my own. There is no separation, no wall, no border, no individual or group that gets to divide us in the name of unity or protection. We are neighbors.