“What worries you masters you.” Unknown
As I sat here thinking about the worries that have kept me up at night, delaying my entry into sleep, I thought I would write about how worries are the equivalents of our own little lies. You know the kind. The lies, the truths that we bury and deny, that fester and eventually take space in our minds as concrete worries.
This morning’s dashboard wouldn’t allow me to pull another quote. It stuck on the one above, which upon reflection I knew to be true. Worries do master my mind, hijacking my thoughts and keeping me up at night. As “Acid Tongue” by Jenny Lewis played in the background, I thought I’d write about its lyrics, picking up on the theme of lies, but then I opened Comfort Prayers, the last step of my morning routine, and found this.
SOMETIMES I AM STARTLED OUT OF MYSELF,like this morning, when the wild geesecame squawking, flapping their rustyhinges, and something about their trekacross the sky made me think aboutmy life, the places of brokenness,the places of sorrow, the placeswhere grief has strung me out to dry.And then the geese come calling,the leader falling back when tired,another taking her place. Hopeis borne on wings, Look at the trees.They turn to gold for a brief while,then lose it all each November.Through the cold months, they stand,take the worst weather has to offer.And still, they put out shy green leavescome April, come May. The geese glideover the cornfields, land on the pondwith its sedges and reeds. You do nothave to be wise. Even a goose knowshow to find shelter, where the cornstill lies in the stubble and dried stalks.All we do is pass through here,the best way we can. They stitch upthe sky, and its whole again.
Since mid-December when I was grounded from yoga, daily walks, and running, made my Friday routine unconstructed and unfamiliar. There is comfort in familiarity. It’s probably why the word is rooted in family. For nearly all of 2017, every Friday, with maybe two absences, I was at Essencia at 6 a.m. Without failure, I awoke excitedly and anxious to reconnect with my usual suspects. This group saw me through my divorce and helped me laughed long and hard shielding me from the tears that stood at the forefront of my wounded self. During my break from them, almost without fail, I noticed flocks of geese every day, in grey and sunny days, in clouded and clear skies. Every morning, sitting here, typing away, looking south, flocks would fly from the Southeast to the Northwest. Their numbers varied, but their consistency to show up did not.
I was prompted to write about the geese when I read Crooker’s poem because I am happy that the morning geese are now a familiar part of my day. This last week, as worries successfully crept into my waking and sleeping thoughts, I was grounded by the appearance of the geese. They flew over right now. You can’t see me but I’m smiling, squinting at them, looking at their formation, and trying to count the size of their flock. I knew I needed to write about liking the geese because truthfully I am not a fan. Goose poop is pâté to the dogs. They adore it. When I let them run free, their noses turn into goose poop radar and they fill their bellies with the yuck; Chloe wolfs it down then belches up its wicked stench, and the poop haunts us for hours on end when Cocoa’s farts later in the day push the human limits of a smell not producing vomit. The aftermath of goose poop is a familiar and traumatic scene in this house. I’m now happy to have a positive association with the bird.
This morning the alarm went off in the middle of a dream. It startled me. It’s been quite a while since I woke up to practice yoga on a Friday morning. It felt good to be back into my Friday routine. The usual suspects all welcomed me back. And when I left the studio, two of them echoed the same sentiment, “Karen’s back and everything is right again”. I am so grateful for my startled awakening this morning, and to be back with my family at Essencia. I made it home in time to appreciate the geese flying by, reminding me that whatever worry is mastering my mind right now, that it if I let it go, I might be startled to find that it too can pass.
After writing this, I recalled a goose that captured my attention last winter on a walk with the dogs at Hidden Lake. I heard its cry and initially panicked. I watched it for a few minutes, as it walked across the frozen water and faithfully squawked for its flock to return. I was relieved when I heard others returning its call. They didn’t abandon it. If you look hard at the photo at the top of the page, you can see the flock. I liked the recollection of their family reunion, it was something like mine this morning, less the squawking and goose poop pâté.