A female goose floats in the huge lake as the rain gently falls on this last Friday of April.
A female mallard sits in stillness on the inclined lakeshore as the male stands guard. I wonder if she is sitting on eggs, and if so, what defense do they really have against any attackers? Is it perhaps why they hang out by the bigger geese, who at least have some means, however limited, to ward off folks who may come near them with their beaks and demeanor? The ducks literally have no defense, other than that of the community which they reside in.
The goose has now come near the shore where I stand. Her peace is remarkable as she sits still in the rain. The father has now joined in the swim, even though he is about thirty feet away from her, which is about the same distance that she stands from me. We form an isosceles triangle whose base is the sixty foot distance between me and the father, who is slowly turning away and lengthening the gap between me and him.
The mother is now floating in the smallest of circles, virtually in place, in the clear portion of the water surrounded by heavy layers of algae. I am writing as I watch, a few feet from the water on the third of four steps, where the next step I take will put me right next to the water. I take that final fourth step and I must have crossed her line because she instantly sets off an alarm call. I step back and she is immediately silenced, as if I must have stepped back from her circle of perceived danger.
The rain keeps falling, even picks up pace for a while, and I am still standing still as I write, right next to an apple tree with the softest of white petals in full bloom on my right and a crab-apple tree in the distance on the far shore where the sun rises on my left. She has moved away from me a bit – the two sides of the isosceles are about forty feet now.
Oh wait. The father has returned to the far side of the lake to the shore by the windmill, to check on the three babies that have hatched over the past week or so. She gets a bit more trusting of me in my stillness, as she is now only twenty feet away, eyes towards where her babies are on the far side.
The rain is really starting to pick up now, but the tree that is literally growing leaves as I write is providing enough of an umbrella that I can keep writing. I am also in the company of the birdsongs coming from the tall trees lining the shore where the mallard couple is still parked. I can see that the goslings are now playing in the rain in the distance.
The mother has apparently decided that it is time to head back to the newborns, as the male of an incoming couple of geese tries to go after her and chases her out of the lake. The alarm calls go out from amid the trees that two intruders have arrived to claim the waters. Serenity turns to stress in a few seconds, and the mallard couple decides to take off. Such can be the cadence of life during a morning walk on the lake with friends.
The smallest of the newborns has now ventured almost to the middle of the lake. The rain is filling my phone’s screen with raindrops and I can barely write any more. It’s time to perhaps head back to dryness.
As I head back to where my car is parked, I’m glad, as I always am, that I decided to ignore the mind’s rationalizations and walked anyway today. On the final stretch, I remember to express gratitude to the new parents and their goslings, the mallards in their stillness, the resplendent apple blossoms, the birdsongs, the rain, and even the intruding geese who eventually disrupted the reverie.
Every walk, even around the same lake and on the same trails, is different. It is perhaps because my heart and its receptivity is a bit different in every walk. I am particularly reminded today that even though I start every walk by myself, I never really end up walking alone – companions inevitably join in.
How about you – why do you walk? What are your favorite walking paths? Who are your frequent traveling companions?
P.S. Do join the friends of #SpiritChat as we gather in twitter in our weekly walk on Sunday April 30 at 9amET / 1pmGMT / 630pm India. We will walk, rain or shine, with some conversation and questions. Namaste – AjmaniK