I live under the flight pattern of Canada geese. The honking rhythm of dawn and dusk rises out of the fields in front of my house. In fact, as I write, I hear them in the distance.
By the way, for some reason, they are not Canadian geese but Canada geese; not sure why.
I won’t be waxing poetic about how these geese are somehow a metaphor for the changing seasons and life moving on or anything like that. Like most Canada geese, these avian lawnmowers don’t migrate; they’ve found their little paradise and stay put. We get to enjoy their low-flying racket and green droppings at all times of the year.
No, these geese remind me of something else, far more meaningful-Mary Oliver’s poem, Wild Geese and its promise that redemption does not need to come from expiation or self-inflicted penance.
For all of the daily sins committed or perceived, all one has to do is to look up into the cleansing rain and the warming sun and realize that, like the elements of the landscape, belonging comes from being in the world. One can seek solace in a companion that will listen and share in return, but, perhaps, this poem is offering a different idea- healing and wholeness can come from taking a walk and listening to the world calling to you and inviting you to come explore. Inviting you home.
Please enjoy this poem. And, keep going, I end with Calvin and his never-ending wit and wisdom.
by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
And of course, like so many things, Calvin captures this need for acceptance perfectly. You can have both the woods and a true friend. You just need to find your Hobbes, someone who will listen, accept…and doesn’t mind a little mud.