Preparing for Liftoff

On my morning walk through the park I was shocked to see the largest gaggle of geese I have ever seen in my life. I counted 48 (!) and there was too much movement for me to count them all. There were several adults, and dozens of goslings.

I’ve come to learn that this is a common phenomenon, and that this massive group of geese is called a crèche. It’s like a goose daycare system in which adults take turns watching the kids, so that they themselves can take turns foraging safely for food.

It was a sight to see as they all jumped into the river and paraded along on the current in a series of rows. A swimming skein. The thing that struck me most though was that the goslings are all teenagers now.

It was only seven or eight weeks ago that we were watching the mother geese sitting on their nests, while their ganders waded in the wings. It was only five or six weeks ago that we were watching tiny hatchlings skating on top of the river to catch up to their siblings. It was only three or four weeks ago that we were watching the growing goslings move in and out of the river, and venture a little farther from their families.

And now, they have quadrupled in size and the yellow fluff has been replaced with beige and brown feathers. It all happened so quickly.

Very soon these fledglings will fly.

And very soon, next week, my little fledgling will graduate, and be able to fly. Any where she wants to go. The whole big world is hers now for the taking. Seems like just weeks ago she was crawling to catch up to her sister. Just weeks ago I was dropping her off at daycare…

For eighteen short years she has been gathering up the knowledge and experiences that she needs to fortify her flight. I have been gathering up the fortitude to allow her the freedom to fly. And now, it’s time.

It came so very quickly. I hope we’re ready.

I’ll take some comfort in this analogy knowing that once geese have all of their flying feathers, they still remain close to their families for a year, at least until the next spring migration. And they always return to their place of birth to make their own nests.

Wherever I go, I’ll always be her place of birth. And wherever she goes.

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