Friday, January 16, 2009

Wild Geese

I find it upsetting that geese are being labeled combatants in the plane crash in NYC yesterday. Even NPR was calling it a "double bird strike". Did the birds attack the plane? I hardly think so. Did they even "run into" the plane? More likely, the plane ran into them. It just seems that we have become so terribly war-habituated that we use such cavalier military language about geese. It saddens me. I was, however, heartened to hear that Sea-Tac Airport, here in Seattle, has a full time biologist whose job is to keep both the wildlife and the people life safe.

Wild Geese
Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert,
repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


  1. I was also struck by the use of double bird strike as somewhat one sided. Not to say it is necessary to make a direct comparison from the birds lives to the human lives at risk, but it is very one-sided. Luckily I did hear a story from a airport biologist like you described.

  2. I feel that I'd like to make a somewhat personal comment, and I hope you will not be offended. I've been following your blog since you were back East, and I am really so pleased with the hopeful, and thoughtful turn your writing has taken since you made your Westward migration. I hope it reflects a new "inner peace" in your personal life as well.
    Best wishes, Bob

  3. +Thanks for your comments on the "Bird strikes." The idea that they are are in our air space is typical of human arrogance.