Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I had another evening of sitting by the lake tonight, and I found myself surrounded by geese. Apparently, my break time is also dinner time for geese. They came all around me, and they were making these quiet, gurgling noises.

I'd always been a little afraid of geese. An ex of mine was afraid of them because of a bad experience as a child. He'd been chased and bitten. All my previous interactions with geese left me anxious. Some of them hiss. Their beaks are black and strong.

Tonight, though, I insisted that my fear be quiet. I sat still, and the geese came all around, rumbling in their throats. They ate grass, and they looked at me. I liked their black feet. One of them kept stretching out his leg and his wing at the same time, balancing on one foot. It made me giggle. None of them hissed.

I decided to look up what the presence of geese might mean, what my outside might be trying to manifest to teach me about my inside, and I found this Mary Oliver poem, which I've read before, but I don't know when, where, or why. It makes sense why I'm reading it tonight, especially the first four lines:

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.