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one goose

It’s been a long week (oh yes…the last day of the 7 day marathon that is National Air Ambulance Week).  I’m back to home in Ware and sat next to the river.  The sun is lightly glinting off the glassy surface and making shapes of wonky honeycomb.  And I’m not doing much at all.  Just reading and sitting.  Listening to the sounds of the river and absorbing some sunlight back into my weary bones.

I don’t know why but I suddenly felt just very very sad. Not desperate, or lost, or anxious.  Just sad: that deep, old, sadness which time has no hold over.  I know I’m where I’m meant to be right now.  But I think I was just wondering what was going to happen.  You know: in the long run.  That feeling sometimes sneaks up on you.  When you stop for a moment.

So, I’m looking down at my blue socks suspended above the green brown depths and there’s bright green moss growing old on the brown bricks. A drop makes a run for it out of the corner of my eye and trickles slow down the side of my nose.  It falls and is swallowed into insignificance by the river, without so much as a ripple.  Now will it now flow downstream for an eternity?  A tear lost this way must be different to when one evaporates into air. Surely?

I notice then that there’s a gaggle of geese to the left of me.  There’s at least 20.  That’s got to be a gaggle right?  They’re Canadian Geese I think.  Black on the back of their heads with beige-brown wings folded across their backs and white bottoms bobbing up and down on the wind dipped surface.

There’s a beat, when it’s just me versus the birds.  A Dawn-Bird stand off.  We’re just taking each other in.  Sizing each other up.  One against the masses.  And then, without so much as a signal, half of them take off.  In perfect synchronicity.  They form into a triangle, wings beating the surface for seven seconds or so, before they get some air between their bodies and the water’s top.  Perfectly unanimous in their group consciousness.  It’s like a tribal dance.  Then the other half do the exact same thing.

There’s just two left now.  One paddles his way around to look right at me whilst his buddy exits onto the tow path giving his webbed black feet a little stretch in the late afternoon sun’s warmth.  The staring one, circles his tail round, fixes me with his black eyes and looks right into the darkest part of my pupils as if he’s studying the deepest secrets of my soul.  He holds me fast like that, for maybe five seconds (it feels longer).  Then opens his jaws, lets out a squark (do geese squark?) and takes off after his feathered friends.

As I watch him go, I can’t get away from the feeling that I’ve been ‘spoken to’, or at least been offered a telepathic appreciation of the pros and cons involved with a (slightly kamikaze) solo existence.  And I feel lighter for it.  Non verbal communication.  From a goose (no less).

“See…it’s not so bad.  Do your own thing.  It just suits some of us that way.”

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