WHAT GEESE CAN TEACH US
The goose family just came to visit at my Storrie Lake camp in New Mexico. The youngsters are getting color and markings. They’re almost ready to go out on their own now. Several families have united, allowing the goslings to swim together without adult presence. The adults watch from the shore. They are good parents.
When I feed scraps of bread to the family the gander stands guard, not eating. The rest eat their fill while he keeps watch. Finally, when all are sated he eats from what is left while the female watches. Then he leads them into the lake, having done his job as patriarch, the proud father leading his family home. Watching them elicits a sort of comfort in nature; that the simplest forms of life will continue to survive in the simplest ways.
Henri David Thoreau wrote this advice which should inspire people to think, especially those who call themselves ‘green,’ “Simplify, simplify, simplify.” Consider it. Our complicated lives can be our own stumbling blocks. How is your life made better by complicating it?
Recently Dr. Oz has been advocating the ‘Paleo Diet.’ Is it complicated? No. It is a concept of returning to what nature provided so humans could evolve, growing stronger, healthier and smarter.
Medical doctors and scientists know that nature is our mother because we are part of her. We are all natural beings. We are made of Earth materials, risen from the dirt as it were. Do you really understand that? Do you really know who and what we are?
No matter what form of life you encounter it is in some way related to you. By now most everyone has heard the phrase “carbon based life form.” That simply means that all life on planet Earth is composed of carbon chain molecules. All life. That means spiders, squirrels, ants, chiggers, slugs, mosquitoes, polar bears and humans. We are all related to one extent or another. That encompasses all the faunal components, but what about the flora?
Trees, bushes, weeds and even lichens are composed of carbon molecules, too. They are of nature and have evolved (naturally changing to better suit their environment) just as every form of life has.
Many years ago it occurred to me that Buddhists have a pretty cool thing going by respecting all life and not limiting that reverence to humans alone. They have a sense of being part of nature that seems to escape many modern peoples. Being ‘one with nature’ is a serious spiritual journey for them. The Navajo (Dine`) share many of their beliefs and adulations for nature, which is one reason I so admire both cultures.
There is a common anecdote about a Buddhist who walked up to a hot dog vender and said, “Make me one with everything.” A Buddhist friend told me that and I find it cleverly amusing.
The point is that we need to live ‘with’ nature rather than ‘against’ nature as has been the case for centuries. Think about it like this; would you purposely flood, burn or otherwise destroy the house in which you live? Would you poison your pets, fresh water source or children? Would you pump sewage into your backyard and throw trash out of the windows? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, please do us all a favor and leave the planet.
This planet is our home. The intimate little neighborhoods we live in used to be our entire world. Times have changed and so has the size of our world influence. What we do in our daily lives now has global impact. What we do in nature seals our fate. The world of the future does not have to be a land of stark devastation, starvation and violence as depicted in grim futuristic movies. The really sad, and scary, thing is that it can be. But the choice is not ours alone; Mother Nature will decide, as always, if we are worthy of survival. It might be advisable to stay on her good side.
And what is it we can learn from geese? For one thing, that a simple life full of love is a good life. John Lennon sang, “All we need is love,” but maybe a little swimming and flying with nature would make it even better. And second, we need to care about and take care of each other. Lending a hand to make someone else’s life easier, whether it be a parent, spouse, child, friend or perhaps someone you do not even know is about the best way possible to lift your own spirits make you feel truly alive. If skin color, age, gender or religion matters when someone needs you, trust me, you are the one who is really in need of help.