Watching wildlife helps us understand how we should behave. Take the time to watch the geese and learn from them.
The Goose Glide
The sun was bright in the mile high blue sky. Its rays warmed my back as I walked. The wind was gentle and the morning was fresh. I inhaled the clean crisp smell of fall air. The day had the makings of a prefect fall day.
I was making my second lap walking the short trail at Prairie Lakes. The walk was yet another attempt to get in the habit of walking. My doctor told me I needed to walk. Walking would be gentle on my knees and help my overall health. Walking for exercise or enjoyment is a great challenge for me. In my youth I was a farm kid. I spent a good deal of my summers walking bean fields. We walked and we pulled weeds; we walked and we pulled weeds; we walked and we pulled weeds. It was an endless job, especially the first time through the fields sometime in June. My father, my brother and I each took two rows. My father was insistent we pull every weed. The second time through we would take four rows as the hot July sun baked us. The third time through we would take six rows as the dog days of August passed slowly. Our biggest dread was the eighty acre fields that were a quarter mile wide and a half mile long. We walked the half mile length all day and it seemed we made little progress toward the opposite side of the field. When I left the farm for the city, I did not miss the endless days of walking. Walking for exercise or enjoyment and not seeing endless rows of soybeans is a challenge. Anyway, I digress from the goose glide.
On my second lap, with visions of endless soybean rows still haunting me, I passed a large coarse weed among the prairie grass. By now I was walking slow, thinking, and reflecting. The tall mature coarse weed gave me an idea for a story. I’m a novice writer and some of my story ideas just come out of the clear blue. Maybe walking has a plus side? I recalled the weed wars my brother and I had against each other. As I walked I mentally started putting that story together in my head.
Someday I will write that story but as I turned the corner, out of the clear blue sky came another story. Wow, two in the same day. This walking could make a lot of work for me. A flock of low flying geese just popped over the trees in the middle of the walking loop. They were flapping wings and honking. Their V formation changed as each goose rotated in and out of formation. The flock was about the hard work of preparing for fall migration.
I paused and watched. My cousin Jolene, an avid walker, has encouraged me to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the obvious and ordinary. The geese continued their flight with constant wing flapping and noisy honking. They made a couple of loops around the Prairie Lake Park. As the geese came over the trees they broke formation and formed a single line. The lead goose spread his big wings banked to the left. The flock became silent.
The goose began a long, slow, graceful, and silent glide to the pond. Oh, the beauty of a graceful gliding goose. As he neared the water his webbed feet lowered for a graceful landing. Each goose in turn followed. I watched a line of geese with their wings extended, all descending on the same glide path in silent harmony with the world.
The lead goose selected the sheltered end of the pond for the landing area. Water at the landing area was glass smooth and reflected the trees and cattails around the pond. The area was out of the wind with quiet water, great peace, and serenity. After landing, the geese gathered in pairs and small groups. They were still silent. The noise of flapping wings and honking voices was gone. This little corner of the world was silent and the geese rested in quiet serenity.
The beauty and serenity of the obvious and ordinary moment made me wonder if we should be more like the geese. Often we work hard but often the clock becomes our master. We plan our work time to the moment. We plan our vacations in great detail. Here at this time, there at that time, and no time for that. No time to relax, we hurry here, hurry there, making a big splash as we rush about like an out of control balloon rocketing about a birthday party.
I began to think. When we rest, shouldn’t we seek out quiet and serenity instead of just doing a quick inhale for a second wind? Shouldn’t we pause, even in the middle of they day? Shouldn’t we be a leader and have our partners, family, and friends follow us? Follow us as we spread our wings and gently, silently, glide into a quiet and serine area to relax.
At this point in my life I usually have more questions than I have answers. So I pondered these questions as I continued my walk. The haunting of endless soybean rows soon vanished. My thoughts turned to new stories to write and visions of the graceful and quiet goose glide. Oh, the joys of being a writer.