Posted by: pilgrm34 | August 27, 2011


August 25, 2011

Just yesterday my friend Tony called my garden a jungle. I prefer to think of it as ordered chaos, an over-size cottage garden. Whatever…

Canadian geese fly low overhead every night. I live maybe 1000ft uphill from the Willamette River. They arrive at dusk and barely clear my fir trees. When I was out closing the coop they passed overhead silently except for the sound of powerful flaps as outstretched wings sifted the air gracefully and surely heading north to roost. Summer brings the rhythms of life: sunrise; heat rising; sunset; Canadian geese fly over; moon rises; stars appear in their familiar, comforting pattern.

Often they call to each other. Usually I don’t hear the raucous honk until they’re startlingly overhead. I stop whatever I’m doing and gaze upward to see the beige-white bellies with clumsy black feet tucked up, long, dark wings unhurriedly rising and falling with a the grace of surety, necks straining forward, eyes on home. They never look down. I watch the nightly ritual respectfully as do my hens who stand still and crane their necks until we can’t hear them anymore. Maybe we’re thinking the same thing: admiration; envy. The geese are heading to roost on the water due north, possibly on Sauvie Island’s large lakes—points north anyway. They will join their fellows in a large enclave with nightly rituals known only to them.

I watch and wonder with a certain awe how they know what to do without second guessing, fanfare or suffering—they just know how to get home. In Derrick Jensen’s memoir “A Language Older Than Words,” he confesses weeping after watching geese fly over realizing his own monumental struggle to find ‘home.’

I envy their freedom. They don’t have to gain approval from others in order to subsist. They are simply free to do what they do. It puts me in mind of Matthew 6:26, which I’ve always found fascinating: “Look at the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matt. 6:26, NRSV)

How is it possible to trust like they do? Why must I procure favor in order to have a living? Is it possible to really believe I can live like the geese dependent on no one? It’s a revolutionary concept. Our society, instead, is based on fear as Jensen says numerous times. Fear and feelings of inferiority drive us. We need human approval. Failure to instead trust in the Divine IS the subject of Scripture, both Hebrew and Christian—think Exodus. We have thousands of years of written spiritual history to document the struggle. We usually lose. Instead, we place our trust in political leaders and employers. Trust in the Divine does not come easily then or now. Very often I watch the geese pass and stand lost in silent meditation.


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