Live at the edge, seize the best of life

They returned and settled at the corner of our land, right along the edge of the swake.  Open water was goose-steps away.  They were in no dog's land, the space between the two german shepherds who lived on either side.  We noticed the geese about three years ago as they set up nest in the corner.  We watched as their family hatched.

We watched and worried as the coyotes stalked the goslings.  Despite the danger of predators, the geese came back again, and again, and again.  They touched down each spring.  The goose runway, marked by dried up cattails waving in the breeze on either side guiding them in to land.  The swake has been their summer home and each year I wait for their arrival anxiously when the winter days bleed into spring.

Canada Geese - Life by the Swake
 Their arrival gives me a shot of hope when I need it most.  We usually hear them coming long before we see them.  They honk in unison as they circle overhead in flocks.  Their song echoes in the bowl shape of the swake bouncing from the tall trees on one side back to us.  From my perspective, they arrive a little early.   There is still ice on the water.  Yet they sit patiently on the ice, day after day, waiting for the thaw.  I wonder how their little bodies and feet survive that cold.  If that isn't persistence, I don't know what is and I get another shot of hope.

Somewhere between persistence and hope, there was a lesson on risk waiting for me.  I realized the geese have a walkway between the swake and the neighbors' pond.  It is a long narrow swath of no-dog-land that the geese can travel on foot.  They can waddle back and forth between the bodies of water with their own guard dogs on either side, keeping the coyotes away from the path.  What I had initially seen as risky was brilliant.  We watched the other evening as a coyote made its way south along the path with the geese in its sights.  Kanti was on snooze until the coyote was well down the path.  When she finally caught on, she exploded at a dead run, barking her head off.  The geese headed for the safety of the water.  The coyote jumped straight up, turned mid-air, landed facing the opposite direction, and ran.  It was amazingly agile.  At the same time, the neighbors' german shepherd joined the mayhem on the western flank while the geese floated unperturbed in the waters of the swake.

The geese live at the edge because it makes sense.  We often try to avoid living at the edge because we are afraid.  What if we lived at the edge like the geese?  Not in a crazy, dangerous, risky way.  But at the edge in a thoughtful, seize the best of life way.  What edges of life do you need to reclaim?