We all know them. They’re everywhere. They walk out in front of our cars. They mess up our sidewalks. They are so pretty, but such a pain in the neck. Of course, I’m talking about Canada Geese.
Recently there was a late night segment on TV about a goose that was discovered with a severely injured leg. He would not be able to survive without attention. Someone captured him and took him to a neighborhood veterinarian. While the vet was working on him, a ruckus broke out at the sliding glass door in the treatment room. It was another goose, a gander, pecking furiously at the glass door. Unseen, she somehow had followed her goose, and knew where he was. She kept up her furious pecking at the door until they put the injured goose in a cage in another room. The next day, when they brought the goose back to the treatment room, the gander reappeared and watched intently as the goose was treated. And so it went, day after day. Occasionally the vets would place the injured goose at the sliding door, open it just a crack, and let the two geese interact. Finally, the goose was well enough to go outside into a small fenced area. And here came the gander, honking happily, flying over the fence, and settling next to her goose. Every day, the gander would fly in and stay with the goose, sometimes wrapping her neck around his, sometimes preening him, sometimes feeding him. As the vets would take the goose back in for the night, the gander would fly off, only to return the next day. This went on for weeks, as the injured leg healed.
Finally, the day came to release the goose with his healed leg. They put him out on the lawn, without an enclosure. The gander immediately joined him, and they walked around the lawn, side by side, obviously excited. Somehow they knew that this was the day. And eventually they took flight, side by side, honking loudly as they flew off into the wild.
As the vets stood there watching, one of them said to the other, “I wonder if that is love.”
That has stuck with me. Love is a really hard thing to define, perhaps easier to observe. And I think animals have a great deal to teach us about the ways of love, even a couple of Canada Geese. I really believe that this creation was meant to run on love. It sometimes gets all messed up, but if we look around, there’s still a lot of love in this world. It takes some amazing forms, and it’s something for which we should always give thanks.
September 1, 2021
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