From my home office standing desk I look out over a small pond that was once a pasture. There are many waterfowl, eagles, owls, coyotes, deer, and tons of different birds. Right now there are three sets of Canada Goose families on the grass not 30 feet from me. It’s quite distracting.
Canada Geese are remarkably vigilant about their goslings. Mallards keep their ducklings a little less close, and Wood ducks let their babies scatter far and wide. Over time, the ducks lose babies to predation and starvation. But not the Canada Geese. The alpha male and alpha female are never more than a couple of feet from the babies. The male stands upright looking for danger. When the babies rest they disappear under the mother’s wings protected from weather and harm. When they swim, they are an armada with the male and female first and last and the goslings in a perfect line in between, almost touching.
During the pandemic these protective instincts are kicking in with all of us parents right now. Danger seems to be lurking, and our babies may be at risk. Not being cautious may have consequences. It can be really difficult to stay steady.
The geese on the lawn don’t express fear at all, until they are approached. They have a calm protectiveness, even when we have walked near them (up to about 15 feet or so). Only when there is actual danger do they get upset. I don’t know why this is so easy for them and not for us, except that, well, they’re geese and we’re human.
This campus closure, the pandemic, and the toll on our families is hard. I am wishing all of us connection, light, and ease this weekend, and the days to come.
Please let me know if I can be helpful.