Is there a better answer to this age old question than this one?
“Now we are ready to look at something pretty special:
It’s a duck riding the ocean a hundred feet beyond the surf.
No, it isn’t a gull.
A gull always has a raucous touch about him.
This is some sort of a duck, and he cuddles into the swells.
He isn’t cold, and he is thinking things over.
There is a big heaving in the Atlantic,
And he is part of it.
He looks a bit like a mandarin, or the Lord Buddha meditating under the Bo tree.
But he has hardly enough above the eyes to be a philosopher.
He has poise, however, which is what philosophers must have.
He can rest while the Atlantic heaves, because he rests in the Atlantic.
Probably he doesn’t know how large the ocean is, and neither do you.
But he realizes it.
And what does he do? I ask you. He sits down in it.
He reposes in it as if it were an infinity –
which it is.
That is religion, and the duck has it.
He has made himself a part of the boundless, by easing himself
into it just where it touches him.”
Donald C. Babcock, from “The Little Duck,” The New Yorker, Oct. 1947