Fowl weather

It isn't just here in Chico that the weather is unseasonably hot. It was almost 100 degrees in San Diego and the 90s here. We are not amused.
Heat + Duchess do not make a good match.

Yet, it is gorgeous outside. Incredible how Chico wears Spring. Awesome blue skies, white clouds and flowers popping up everywhere. And then there is Mother Nature's contribution to the season.

Our church center is located in California Park where we have two man-made lakes that surround us which is happily populated with geese and ducks. Spring has now shown its special glory with a profusion of new goslings and ducklings. Remember I am a dyed-in-the-wool city girl and I have never seen real-life baby geese or ducks except on television or in the movies.

Yesterday, I needed a break and reminded myself that I am in a beautiful natural setting and despite the hot weather, I had to be outside. Weeks ago, I brought in to my office some rice cakes to have on hand should I feel so inclined as to feed the geese. Within those few weeks, all these little creatures joined our community. At first, I only saw one little gosling. A goofy little guy with a blond crew cut. People kept telling me that there would be lots of offspring but until Monday, I had only seen the one teen goose.

Often in the afternoons, families come out to the lake with their children to visit or feed the flock so I went over to the other areas to feed the less popular areas. Fortune smiled on me because as I went over to the distant corner, I came across two geese who were guarding a flock of 22 little fluffy creatures. 22! Once the momma geese quickly assessed that I was not there to bring harm but instead offer snacks they began to come up to me seeking food. It was extraordinary to watch this entire family greet me and want to share in the picnic I brought along. Across the way, were two more adult geese with the one teenage gosling and they were less interested in my presence or my offerings.

Then in the middle of the lake, I noticed people paying active attention to the duck and her seven little ducklings following in her wake. The little ones didn't follow in a direct line behind Mom the way I expected but instead were very eclectic in their pattern. For most people, these examples of rural life may not seem very unusual but for me, I was captivated.

Even as a city girl, I knew better than to actually hand the rice cakes over to Mrs. Goose when she came up to me with her mouth open and tongue flapping at me for more food. And I resisted every urge to reach out and pet those fluffy little fowl tribbles. I ran out of snacks and started back to the office. I stopped to watch another batch of goslings trying to find shelter under Mom's body. One little kid tried to upend Mom pushing under her butt to wangle his way into the flock finding respite under her wing. It didn't seem to matter that seven or eight of his siblings were already under her wing; and Mom didn't seem to mind either as she maneuvered herself in such a way that all her fur children found a safe haven with her. I began to cry.
This is the instrinsic part of motherhood and family that eluded or ignored me and that which I have sought throughout my life.

Suddenly I simultaneously missed my mother and understood her. I briefly mourned the fact that I would not know what even that mother goose knew. And yet, there was I was standing in a visceral maternal concert that was beyond explanation. It was so simple and yet so profound and eternal. I was glad to have had even a glimpse of the bigger picture that these birds offered without so much as a feather out of place.

Oh, and by the way, today is the 111th day of the year. Those of you who follow my fascination and investigation into the 1-1-1 phenomenon will appreciate knowing this bit of trivia. I used this added bit of information to add the value of today being unique and valuable beyond being Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's. And for your poetic pleasure:

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.

© Mary Oliver.

Comments

Nice essay. I'm glad I took a gander at it! HA!

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