Monday, November 2, 2015

All For One And One For All

There's no denying that Autumn is a feast for the senses. The color pallet for this season burns its beauty into our eyes and hearts. There is a certain smell in the air, a crispness that whispers to us that winter is just around the corner. We enjoy the fruits of the harvest on our dinner tables and the aroma of apple pies baking gets our taste buds watering. One of other things I love about Autumn relates to a particular sound. What? Didn't think Autumn had a "sound?" Oh, but it does and the minute you hear it, your eyes are drawn skyward. Know what it is? Of course, it's the geese.

From the moment I feel that first crispness in the air, I strain my ears to listen for that familiar sound of the geese making their way to the pond down the road from my house. I have been fortunate that for the last 23 years I have lived near a body of water that attracts flocks of geese each and every year with a place to stop and rest themselves on their journey to their winter homes to the south. Even when I moved away to the city for 15 years, I was still within walking distance of a branch of the Chenango River, and the geese would fly right over my apartment from north to south as they headed for their next rest stop.

Have you ever watched a flock of geese in flight? I once read up on them for a project I was working on. When the one in the lead begins to tire out, another one will move forward and take his place so the first one can fall back and rest. If one of them goes to the ground because of injury or fatigue, another will go and stay with it until it is fit to fly again and will lead it in the direction of the rest of the flock. All that cackling and honking that goes on when they are in flight are for two reasons: First, they will alert each other if there is any danger from a predator in the area; Second, they call to each other to encourage the flock on, to keep them flapping and flying, to boost their morale. Truly, these beautiful animals are living examples of the old saying, "one for all and all for one."

I know I've said it before but it bears repeating - we can learn a lot about life from watching our animal relations. They have so much to teach us. Can you imagine a world where we watch out for one another, encourage one another and take care of each other without question or expectation of payment? Can you image a world where it's citizens act out of love and compassion without even stopping to think about it but out of sheer instinct? I believe that instinct is in all of us although for many it has lain dormant for so long that they have forgotten it is there. Sometimes we need  Mother Nature to send us a reminder that makes so much noise we just have to pick ourselves up and look skyward to get the picture. We accomplish nothing when we work against each other. When we work with each other, everyone reaches their goals.

Once the visiting geese have moved on, the local geese, who have nice warm barns to winter in and have no need to become snow birds, will fly overhead and check out the pond to see if there is still time to get some fish to augment their diet of grain before the pond freezes over. When I hear them coming, I look up and see these hearty souls who, although their numbers are few, stick together, urge each other on, and watch each others' backs for the short trip from the farm to the pond and back again. What's that other old saying? Oh, yes: "Where two or three are gathered ..." - love is in their midst.

And so it is.