Getting goose bumps


When I step away from my desk at work, I look out of a corner window, out over a walking trail, picnic tables, and small pond that serves as a calming oasis in a maze of corporate buildings and local roads.

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I’ve noticed lately that I’ve been taking more and more advantage of the opportunity to look out over the pond. I’ve been stepping away from my desk and whatever deadline I’m working on, to look out over and reflect on the nature in front of me. I’ve been taken away by the surrounding Sycamore trees and the pond’s restful qualities.

My time spent in thought hasn’t been a complete waste. I’ve been caught up in recent weeks by a small flock of Canadian Geese. They swim across the pond and lazily forage and graze the grass along the shore. They’ll take a zig-zag route, with no rhyme or reason, across the pond and small plot of grass. They seem to have not a care in the world.

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A challenge for some

The region where I live gets overrun by Canadian Geese, both the migratory kind and resident geese, who stay in the region all year round. The spring season can be especially challenging as the migratory geese drop in to local ponds on their commute north adding to the overall population.

There’s so many of them that their droppings line walkways and they can destroy the large patches of the local vegetation. I usually give the geese a wide berth on the trails that I run. They stand up erect, spread their wings and squawk loudly if you get too close to them.

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Lesson in nature

I don’t know much about geese. I frankly stumble over whether to call them a gaggle or a flock or even goose or geese. I used to think of them as nothing more than a nuisance, but they’ve taught me a few things over the past few weeks about life and even building good business relationships. Nature has a way of doing that. A few of the lessons include:

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–Make a friend. The geese in my pond usually stick together. They don’t usually venture too far away from the larger group without a partner. In particular, they seem to enlist the buddy system. If one checks out a new section of untapped grass, another follows close behind. (In fact, when I checked up on goose patterns, I found out that they mate for life.) Throughout its many twists and turns, life can certainly be challenging. For that reason, sometimes you just need a buddy.

–Protect your tribe. The geese in the pond generally keep to themselves, but they do have a tendency to attack when they feel themselves or their goslings are threatened. Coworkers have told stories about the geese squawking loudly at them. When I run on the trail that goes by the pond, I know to be careful. I used to be annoyed by their aggressiveness, but now that I know they’re just protecting their family, I can’t say I really blame them. I like to think I have the same principles. I’m friendly until you go after my family, then I’m not.

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–Communicate, communicate, communicate. The birds are considered to be one of the most talkative animals. A baby geese begins “talking” to its parents while still in the egg and scientists say that the birds communicate with one another by using more than 13 distinct calls. I couldn’t help but think of the geese when I read a slew of articles later in the day documenting how the failure to communicate is a big reason for failure in the workplace. Hey, let’s hear it for the geese. At least they’re trying communicate with each other. I wish you could say the same for people.

Some might call the geese pests, and I certainly wouldn’t want them trampling through my yard or creating a mess of my farm, if I owned one, but I can’t complain too much about them. If I could call the serene pond home, I would too.

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