Lessons From A Goose

I watched the full grown goose in my yard. He had come ashore before. How you might wonder, did I know it was that exact same goose? He stood out in the handful of geese who pecked at the ground for food near the water's edge balancing awkwardly with his entire right webbed foot bent completely backward. His walk was not a walk, but rather a flagrant severe limp. It looked painful, at least from my vantage point. 

I wondered what had happened to his right foot to cause such an extreme deformity - injury or just born that way? Did he feel constant pain? Did he struggle to live his goose life with something that slowed him down? Somehow though, he continued to be a goose, doing goosey things with the goose posy he hung with.

Recently a friend of ours suggested a Netflix documentary to watch called, "My Octopus Teacher". I highly recommend this documentary [Nancy's 5 star review!]. It's about a filmmaker who documents a year spent following and forging a relationship of sorts with an octopus in the waters of a South African kelp forest.  During that year he documents its life cycle, recovery from a devastating horrific injury, reproductive life and well, the circle of life eventually. It was fascinating and opens the viewers to the delicate balance of the ocean world and their connection to us as humans. Riveting.

I was watching a sort of "My Goose Teacher" right in front of me. I thought about that goose continuing to live, though greatly altered and struggling to do the things he used to do with ease. My empathetic heart came from seeing my own life mirrored in the animal world right in front of me. I too felt a bit slower than my peers, the world around me and generally all of life most days. Ebbing was the word.

Transfixed, I watched that goose. He stood still more than the other geese. I assumed that was due to how hard he had to work to walk any distance. He held his right backward facing webbed foot just barely off the ground. The left leg and foot bore the majority of his weight as he stood pecking at the ground or cleaning his feathers.  I wanted to pet it, to go toward it to see if it would let me near.  I felt at a loss to know how to ease its struggle or pain - it was hard to watch.

He kept living though. His injury not severe enough to take his immediate life, just change his existence on a daily basis. I vacillated between feeling sorrow for his plight in life and awe at his obvious resilience. Why did I not seem to possess even a fraction of that gooses' spirit. I couldn't seem to find a lot of acceptance some days for my recent more limiting life. 

I might not never be back to the faster Nancy I once was. I summoned my inner goose and would just kept moving, even if it was slower. I was alive and that is a very good thing.

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