Oh my gosh! Could it really be happening? Could winter really be waning and spring arriving? Please tell me it is so! I hate the cold. I hate snow. Plain and simple, I hate winter. Winter is a very depressing time for me. Everything is brown and dreary. The trees drop their leaves and sleep for weeks at a time. The days are shorter and nights are longer. Even some of the birds and animals leave us for a while. I love spending time outdoors, but during winter it is too cold to spend time outside. However, without the dreary winter, spring would not be quite as magical.
Traveling home from a trip to Des Moines this weekend I spotted several large flocks of geese flying in V-formation, headed north. For someone who hates winter like I do, THAT, in itself, is a good sign! The weatherman is even cooperating - temperatures for the next 10 days are forecasted to be above normal. The warm temperatures are extremely welcomed. Signs of spring are showing up everywhere, and I am finding more to be joyful for.
In spring I find my moods much happier, my steps a little lighter. When I see a flock of geese flying in formation, I am amazed at the wonder of Mother Nature, and the intelligence of these big-bodied birds. We could all learn a lot from geese.
When geese fly in formation, the leader does the hardest work. It is his job to carve a path through the air. When he flaps his wings, he creates an "upwash" - the downward push of air as the body cuts through the air. The birds behind use the upwash to their own benefit. By putting their wingtips in the upwash, they get a "free-ride" of sorts. Their task is made easier by the efforts of the bird(s) in front. The birds save energy by using the good air from the bird(s) in front. When the lead bird tires, he takes his place further back in the flock and a different bird takes the lead. They share the workload so that each member of the flock takes his turn. But it doesn't stop there. Not only do the geese share the workload, but the ones behind honk "'words" of encouragement to those ahead.
If the human race would observe geese and take notes from them, we could learn a few things. We all need to do our fair share of the work and not simply get by on the "upwash" of those who lead. We need to take the lead once in a while and let those who lead take a rest. Sometimes we need to do what is difficult, but if we have supporters to encourage us along the way, we are more likely to be successful.
So, the next time you hear the chorus of a flock of geese flying overhead, take time to look up. Look up, enjoy the view, and think about the science behind the V, and let your heart swell with joy at the wonder of it all. Bring on the geese!