Friday, July 20, 2012

When To Fly To The Sun

These pictures are from about four months ago when I was still in Tennessee.
I had gone trail running at the base, and on the way home, on a cool and overcast day, stopped briefly at first Goodwill and then Wal-mart to pick up...........nothing really important.  Just stuff.
Walmart in Tullahoma (our hometown in Tennessee) is located on the very very busy main street that parallels the train tracks and that for all intents and purposes cuts the town in half.
This same four lane highway continues beyond town in both directions, eventually leading to the towns of Shelbyville in the west and Winchester in the east.
On this particular day I was taking my time, winding down from a seven mile trail run, and I decided on the spur of the moment to take some time to visit the geese before heading into the fast and furious redneck hell that is the Tullahoma Walmart.
There are small ponds at each end of the superstore.
These ponds are surrounded by the chaos of multiple people and endless traffic and noise, but in these places - at these two tiny ponds - there is sanctuary and peace for beautiful flocks of birds.
These are pictures the first time I stopped to take pictures of the geese:
On this day I headed for the small pool of water located on the back side of Walmart.
All around me was noise and traffic and outdoor patio furniture and flowers for sale, but in this one small spot behind the busy building there was just me and the geese......................
I slowly walked along the shore line of this little pond, and then quietly sat down on the grassy embankment, continuing to watch these lovely birds and snap pictures.
They knew I was there and cautiously swam closer to me (but not too close), and appeared to be accepting of my presence as long as I did no make any sudden moves.
As I sat and watched them for a long time, in no hurry to enter the store, I could feel my heart rate finally starting to slow down.
I had had a good run on a day that thankfully was not too warm.
Feeling good about the run, good about my performance, good that I could still complete the challenging course, and feeling good that it was done.
And now feeling good that I had decided to take a few minutes to commune with these birds before doing such banal activities as shopping...................
When we were in Tennessee before heading to Alaska I went to Walmart many times.
As I sat in the grass on the embankment I was keenly aware of the fact that I had passed these geese many times without thought, and had never stopped to enjoy their presence.
I hadn't even really noticed them before.  Never given them a second thought.
As I continued to sit on the embankment I watched them as they scratched, communicated with each other, walked, swam, even fished.
I saw things that I had never seen before.  And learned things about their behavior that I did not know before this day.
I became more and more glad that I had decided to stop.................
One by one the geese eventually swam over to the side of the pond, climbed up the embankment and walked to the back of the building.
It was strange to watch geese walking so comfortably and with such familiarity around the palettes and boxes that were in back of the store.
This was a familiar place for them and it showed in the way they easily wandered................
This picture is a little faded out because I zoomed my little digital camera in too far to capture it.
But I like it anyway..................
I never saw him come up with a fish, but it certainly wasn't for a lack of trying...............
This noisy couple made me laugh to myself.
Honking wildly to the geese that had already left the pond and slowly waddled behind the building, who honked back to communicate their location......................
I stayed until the last of the geese had left the pond, climbed the embankment and disappeared behind the back side of the Walmart store.
Reluctantly I stashed my camera into the right side pocket of my pack, stood up, and headed for the front sliding doors of redneck hell...................

How do geese know when to fly to the sun? Who tells them the seasons? How do we humans know when it is time to move on? As with the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within if only we would listen to it, that tells us certainly when to go forth into the unknown............Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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