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Lesson of the Geese
by Beth Boswell Jacks

Out on Lake Nottalottawatta we continue to enjoy our goose Ava. She's been a mean thing, snapping at human legs and dog behinds, but I love her because she adores me. She knows the bang of the backdoor slamming at the barnhouse, she knows the clatter and rumble of my golf cart, and she awaits my arrival with great anticipation. This is because I feed her Cheerios and she appreciates that. She woofs up Cheerios like I do chocolate; that goosey-gal is crazy about toasted whole grain oats.

The big news, however, is not about how much Ava loves Cheerios and me. The big news is that Ava now has a companion, Frank, a small replica of Ava down to his little toes (claws? talons?). And how did Frank happen to join our gaggle-of-one on Lake Nottalottawatta? We don't have a clue.

Could Ava have hatched and hidden Frank until she was ready for us to meet him? Did he fly in with a bunch of Canadian geese, fall beak over feathery tail in love with Ava and decide to hang around? Did somebody slip over in the dark of night to deposit the little gander on our premises after deciding Ava should have scrawny Frankie-boy for a mate? We'll never know.

Actually, since Frank has been around, Ava is nicer. Well, she's a little bit nicer. She seems much more content and is less likely, it seems, to attack visitors.

This brought to mind a story about geese -- a factual and inspirational piece. The author is unknown, but I give you the story now in honor of our beloved Ava and her new consort, Frank Sinatra Jacks.

The Story: "My friends, when you see geese migrating, pay attention to how they fly in a V formation. Why do they do this? By flying in this V formation, the whole flock increases flight efficiency by 71%. What are the lessons we can learn from this?

"Lesson 1: Sharing the same direction and working as a team will get us to our destination quicker and easier. When a goose leaves the formation, he feels the resistance of the air and faces difficulties flying alone. Normally, the wayward goose quickly comes back to take advantage of the flock's powerful formation.

"Lesson 2: By staying united with those who are going in the same direction, the bird finds the effort required of him to reach his goal will be less stressful. When the leader gets tired of flying, he goes to the end of the V formation and another goose takes the lead. To share leadership, the geese must have mutual respect. Sharing the hardest tasks requires combining the greatest talents and resources.

"Lesson 3: The geese flying in V formation quack to send encouraging signals to the leaders in the front. In that way, they literally keep the same speed and maintain steady progress. Where there is encouragement, progress is greater. A timely word of support always motivates, strengthens and produces the best benefits.

"Lesson 4: When a goose gets sick, injured or gets tired and must leave the formation, other geese also leave and fly with the sick goose to help him and protect him. They remain with him until he dies or is able to fly again. When they are able to proceed on their journey, they fly to reach their bevy or just make another V formation.

"Lesson 5: Like geese, we humans would do well to stay beside each other, no matter what our differences, especially during times of difficulty. If we bond and support each other, if we embrace the spirit of teamwork, regardless of our differences we can rise to meet our challenges."

That's the story. I'd wondered why geese fly like that; it's a beautiful sight, those V formations in an autumn sky. And now I also know why Ava has calmed down. She needed a friend. Frank came with no Cheerios, no kind words, but he swims along behind her on the lake, like a shadow, keeping her company and following in her wake. Every creature needs support and encouragement.

Learn from the geese!


For more SNIPPETS stories, read these:
Land of Nod Notes
Rabbit, Rabbit...
Spring Cleaning ~ Here We Go 'Round In Circles
Conquering the Wild Blue Yonder
Trail rides, cantles and beans...Hellooo, Mama!
A Towel Piece ~ A Tribute
Ben Skelton: Peace Corps Volunteer
Smiles, Not Fists...
Dance ~ the Soul's Hidden Language
Class Reunion Advice
Searching for the Inner Animal
It Was a Dark and Stormy... you know
Granny Does the Shoshone
Forget Your Troubles ~ C'mon, Get Older!
How to Eat Crawdads
Thanksgiving Humor - Granny's Confession
A Tribute to Marjorie Haggart Jacks
To Snow ~ A fond farewell

For stories at USADS by columnist Beth Boswell Jacks, click here: SNIPPETS
And find even more here: MORE SNIPPETS

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