What We Can Learn From A Goose

I've just been for a walk in the park. While I was there I sat for a while at one of the picnic tables, and decided to spend some time watching the geese and the ducks.

Not much was happening. They were all sitting dozing or preening on the grass near the water's edge. The geese (as I discovered later from Google - I'm not very well-versed in types of animals!) were Canada geese and the ducks were all Mallards. They are extremely tame and accustomed to the proximity of humans so I was able to sit quite close to them without alarming them.

It occurred to me that some people might think of them only as a rather pleasant choice for lunch, but then wiser counsels prevailed when I remembered that there is a very high quality supermarket within 100 metres of the spot, where you can get duck or goose or anything you want, ready to cook. That would seem the obvious choice, at least for most of us who live in the so-called "civilised" world, for whom the thought of having to kill and pluck their own goose would be quite a gruesome prospect.

While I was pondering on this, I noticed something I had never known about before. As you are probably aware, the Canada goose has very dark, almost black, colouring on its head, and the eye, which is also dark, does not make a great contrast with the rest of the head. However, when the goose shuts its eye, for example to doze off, the situation changes quite dramatically. It is the lower eyelid that moves, which looks strange enough, but the astonishing thing is that the eyelid is a pure white colour. This makes a marked contrast with the rest of the face. I can think of no reasonable explanation for this, except maybe that it is for the protection of the goose against predators. Perhaps when the eye is shut it looks like it is open, which might possibly make a predator hesitate for a minute. I just don't know.

I noticed also that the Mallard duck has the same eyelid arrangement, although not so strikingly as the Canada goose.

This led me on to thinking about what it must be like to actually BE a goose or a duck. I spend a lot of time wondering about what it is like being something or someone else, so this is not completely surprising. I would certainly miss being able to scratch my ear (do geese have ears?), or ride a bicycle. And when was the last time you heard about a goose logging on to the World Wide Web (though they DO have webbed feet - ha ha sorry about that one!) But anyway, a goose would not miss those delights, never having experienced them.

However, if you were a goose, you would have one truly amazing skill that maybe would make up for your lack of opposable thumbs. You would be able to FLY - under your own power and control! And you would be able to land on water! Think of that. Now, be honest, wouldn't that be absolutely awesome?

Why am I writing this? Well, as I am a philosopher I think it is great if we can learn something from any experience, so here are some things I learned, and maybe they will be useful to you as well.

1. Canada geese have pure white upside-down eyelids.

2. It is worth taking the time and trouble to REALLY look at things.

3. We probably focus too much on the things we cannot do, especially when we compare ourselves to other people. Instead we would do better to focus on the amazing things we could do, if we only tried.

4. If you want to survive in this world, it is a good idea to try to avoid being tasty when eaten. If you cannot manage this, then try to live somewhere where they have a decent supermarket nearby.

12 comments:

Stella said...

Its amazing all we can discover if we take the time to notice the little wonders of the world around us...very nice post (especially for a monday morning at the office) :)

Aimee said...

@Stella Thank you so much for your kind words.

R said...

hi , i request you to write a post about
1. choice - we see that there is a lots going on in the world , i will slide your focus towards the fact that people didnt get a chance to live their life peacefully ( in wars,poverty etc...)
and the fact is someone else chose this future for them .
what do you say about it, i could clarify if u didnt get it.

my battry is about to end

nothing profound said...

I spent a whole summer around ducks and geese less to observe them than to enjoy their company. After awhile I felt I had become one of them and was a happier being for it.

Sorcerer said...

We probably focus too much on the things we cannot do, especially when we compare ourselves to other people. Instead we would do better to focus on the amazing things we could do, if we only tried.

Very true..

world is full of hidden wonders..if only we take time to discover it!

nothing profound said...

I spent one very fruitful summer observing ducks and geese in a nearby park. The experience literally changed my life. I discovered a calm and simplicity I had never realized before.

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aa said...

GREAT........................................

身材維持 said...

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The Crow said...

I am a crow. I can fly too.
In fact I can do almost everything, except land on water.
As for not being tasty: there is a saying among Indians:
Bear not eat white man:
White man too salty.


Nice to know that even white men sometimes get it right :)

都一樣 said...

很喜歡你的部落格風格,期待你的更新! ..................................................

婉婷婉婷 said...

路過~很有趣吶...........................................