We Can’t Do This Alone

One of my favorite signs of spring is seeing flocks of geese flying north, bringing with them the warmer climate where they’ve wintered and ushering in new sunshine and spring air. There’s hope and happiness in all that wing flapping and honking overhead.

As I watch a flock in v-formation pass over, their migration means more to me than just the changing of the seasons. They are nature’s reminder, a symbol that we are designed to travel through life together.

Together, we take turns being the point in the “V.” When you feel strong and have direction, you can power through the wind resistance, and those who are with you will find it easier to fly because you are in the lead.  Over the miles your wings will get tired, but you’ll keep going, because that flock behind you–they are making all kinds of noise, encouraging you to fly on, so you do.

But your energy isn’t limitless. You can’t do all the hardest work alone. So on Mile 249 you might start to fall back. And that’s when you need your flock even more. You need someone else take the point for a while, someone else to power through the wind resistance for you, so you can fly easier.

Do you know that together geese fly 70% farther, reach their destination quicker, and use the same amount of energy as if they had landed sooner and flown slower? We’re like that, too, when we fly together.

But sometimes, in this crazy-paced world we live in, we forget we need others. We fool ourselves into believing we are equipped to fly solo.

Kind of like the goose I saw flying all alone the other day.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a goose fly by itself. Or maybe I just never noticed. But this time I did, and it bothered me. As he stretched his neck forward and flapped his wings, I wondered who would honk encouragement when his wings started to ache. Who would relieve him when he got too tired to fly? He probably wasn’t going to get very far on his own.

I wondered why he was separated from his flock. When a goose is sick or injured, two or three will stay back while the rest fly on. Some believe geese mate for life. This goose should not have been alone.

But maybe one day he decided he was strong enough to fly solo, that he didn’t need the rest of the flock. Maybe all that honking gave him a headache, or there was another goose or two that got on his nerves. So when the flock made a left turn at Oklahoma, he turned right. We can relate, can’t we?

But I wonder how many miles it took before his flight became too quiet and the wind became a force too difficult to break through. I wonder when he started to miss all that noise–and even those annoying ganders–that maybe don’t seem so annoying any more. How long would it take him to return to his flock–to realize it was against nature for him to fly alone?

Maybe he is the same goose my friend Ron posted about on Facebook shortly after my lone goose encounter. Ron was driving down the highway when a single goose joined him and flew alongside his truck, so close that Ron rolled down his window and could almost touch him. The goose traveled with Ron, side-by-side, for about eight miles. I don’t think he liked being alone.

I hope Ron’s goose and my goose found their flocks. Or maybe their story turned into a romance and they found each other, their mate for life. Either way, I hope they are no longer alone. They are designed to fly with others. And so are we.

Was there a time in life when you were thankful you weren’t flying solo? Who was your flock and how did they encourage you? Share in the comments! (Then share this post on Facebook!) 


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  1. Ron Bratton says:

    That was truly a great story Karen. I had driven over 600 miles that day before encountering that goose and it sure helped me with the last few miles I had to go. I hope they found their friends to fly north with.

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