Stranger Than Fiction

The Time I Swam With Talking Geese: How I Learned to Seize the Moment

When I woke up from my slumber, I first saw her eyes shining like two pearls in the sky and looking at me with love and warmth. I held her gaze for as long as I could, until the tears that had begun to form in my eyes forced me to blink. When I reopened them, she was gone, but had painted the sky with the same soft shade of blue as her eyes. I laid there immobile, with ants and critters crawling all around me as I stared up, hoping to see her again. But the moment had passed, and my senses quickly became distracted with the life that moved through and around me. It was at that moment that I realized she had never actually left. She had simply become the Moment itself.

With this new understanding, I set out on a walk through the Dense Forest in front of me. With a sense of wonder and eyes wide opened so as to fully appreciate the vibrant colours of the bush, I stepped into its maw.

As I walked through the dense bush, I came across a family of geese. In one long, single file led by the Mother at the very front and the Father covering the back, they crossed from one side to the other, blocking the road I was on and forcing me to stop. When everyone had made their way across, Mother Goose came waddling back to the road where I was standing and looked up at me. “If you’re thirsty,” the large bird began saying to me, “we’re heading over to The Lake. You’re welcomed to join us, as long as you promise not to hurt my babies.” Perplexed yet oddly calm and in a matter-of-fact tone, I quickly replied: “I wouldn’t think of it!”

“Good,” she shot back. “Then follow us.”

Not wanting to disrupt their flow, I got behind the father and walked on.

“We should be there soon,” he said to me without turning, and then waddled on.

The Geese Family

About 100 metres up the path, we reached what seemed like an Oasis: Crystal clear water that sparkled like diamonds under an incandescent orange Sun, around which two moons seemed to dance in concentric circles. Trees so immense that they reached the sky circled the lake, and birds of all colours and sizes swooped in and out and around them, sometimes disappearing beyond the clouds. Wild, colourful flowers the size of toddlers gallivanted and frolicked about, singing lullabies and leaving behind a trail of their powerful yet gentle aroma, which felt like the tender touch of a mother on my skin. And just as I thought I could not see anything more amazing and awe-inspiring, dream-like projections danced atop the water like holograms. After rubbing the tears off my eyes, caused by an overwhelming sense of serenity, confusion and vulnerability in this inexplicable place, I realized the images were of my younger self and my grandparents in various loving scenarios which I quickly recognized as memories which I had securely and tightly held on to despite the passage of time and, with it, of their lives. Now, in front of me, these treasured moments in time were being displayed as if by magic right in front of my eyes. Unable to comprehend, I let tears stream down my face, blurring my vision but, in their constant, silent flow, also explaining the sea of feelings and questions that inundated me.

“Why do you cry?” asked Mother Goose, who had made sure all 12 of her babies had safely jumped into the lake before approaching me. “Is something wrong?”

“Not at all,” I quickly replied, wiping the tears off my face and kneeling down to be at her level. “I just…I don’t und…What is this place??!” I finally blurted out. “How is any of this possible? Why can I understand you even though your…lips..or beak? isn’t moving?? Am I dreaming? I know I’m not! So….?”

“You’re definitely not dreaming,” she said. “You’re simply In The Moment. This is a place and time of Purity. Allow yourself to enjoy it.”

******

I made a big splash as I dove head-first into the water. At first, it felt like a rush of fresh air being pumped directly into my lungs. My veins filled with ice. I quickly came up coughing and gasping for breath. My body – more precisely, my lungs – had never felt such purity.

“Calm down and control your breathing,” said Mother goose, who was happily paddling around me and giggling ever so gently, covering her beak with her right wing. “Just let your body get used to the purest water you’ve ever had – guaranteed!”

As I bobbled in the water regaining control of my breath, I contemplated the brief explanation about this place which Mother Goose had given me earlier.

“This place is untouched because it is UN-KNOWN!” she had told me as she gently flicked me on the forehead with her feathered limb. “When was the last time you had really enjoyed The Moment? This place is not special. Or different. It simply IS. And now, You’re here.”

I hadn’t understood her cryptic message at the moment, and was still not entirely sure I did now, but – perhaps due to the rush of cold which had seemed to clear my head from all my preconceived knowledge of absolutely everything – I now felt more open to it. Why would this water be any different? Why is a goose communicating with me without even saying words? This is just a lake, I thought to myself. The water must come from a source. It is not magical. Perhaps, I thought, it is me who’s different.

Just then, Father Goose, who had been drying the babies off, jumped in the water, startling me and taking me away from my deep contemplation.

“This is the way it has always been,” he said as he splashed his long neck playfully in and out of the water. “If you allow yourself to understand, you will see that this is true. You’ve obviously already begun. Just keep going with it.”

“Is that why I can understand you?!” I asked insistingly.

“Of course!” he shot back. “I’m not doing anything differently. You just want to listen, is all.”

Father Goose

At that moment, it became clearer that it was indeed me who had changed – not the world, not the moment. For the first time, I had begun to understand that the beauty of this oasis had emanated from my willingness to accept the moment as it were, as it came, without judgement and without me imposing my own will and pride on it. Only then, could I really hear and listen to the sounds that surrounded me, and even beckon the call of the wild, as it were, constantly telling us its story of freedom and plight at the hands of humans. With eyes wide opened, immersed in vulnerability, I could see the beauty and life of the very ground that sat me, the trees that provided me with shade, the birds that serenaded me, the plants that fed me. Finally, I had found the strength to step outside of myself, to destroy the ego, and accept myself as a guest in a home found in Her – Mother Earth – and was therefore privy to the real-life magic which was the life within it. I had learned to appreciate the moment for what it was: a moment to learn.

And with that, her beautiful pearl-like eyes appeared in the heavens again, eclipsing the ardent sun with their piercing warmth and intensity.

“You’re back!” I yelled. ‘My love! you’re back!”

“I never left, love!” she replied. “It’s just now, you’re finally Seeing Me.”

******

I swam for hours in the Lake, feeling more and more like an integral part of this Whole in front of me that was The Great Forest and less like the isolated individual who first walked in.

After allowing my new-found understanding to sink in, I told Mother and Father Goose I had to get going, for the journey was long, and I was curious to see more of this Great Forest.

“Of course,” said mother Goose. “Just remember to keep your peepers open!”

“Any direction is good, as long as you do that,” added Father Goose as he playfully squirted me with water. “But if you’re feeling in need of company, head South. The We-Worms live there, and they always love guests.”

I stood on the road where I first met the Geese Family contemplating which way to go for a few minutes. I knew I had to keep going, but had no particular direction or goal. Magic was to be found anywhere. So I decided to head South, to the We-Worm Village.

And then, with one last wave goodbye, I trekked on.

******

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