Peyton and the Geese

Recently I was reading about unique qualities in wild geese. I had also seen the beautiful documentary movie by Jacques Perrin entitled “Wing Migration” which illustrated the magnificence. This is a video excerpt from that movie. For 80 million years birds have ruled the skies, seas and earth. Each spring they fly vast distances. Each fall they fly the same routes back. Many species fly 2000 to 3000 miles each way. Geese and some other species of birds migrate in distinctive “V” or “U” formations or in lines. By taking advantage of the wing tip vortex of the bird in front, each bird by flapping its wings creates uplift for the bird immediately following. In so doing , each bird can save energy by using drag. The energy savings in flight for the whole flock adds at least 50 to 70 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. When a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshots and falls out of formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly again or until it dies; and only then do they launch out on their own or with another formation to catch up with their group. Families of geese do not break up after the breeding season but form strong family units that migrate at winter together until they return to their breeding ground. Only then do the yearlings leave to start their own families. Indeed, some geese mate for life.

Peyton is our daughter yet she represents the thousands of Peytons that live somewhere in our community but are not seen. The Peytons that remind us of the differences in all of us that we desperately try to hide, deny, or allow to exclude as we strive for unobtainable perfection. Yet, it is these Peytons that provide us with the unique and rich opportunity to include those of us that have fallen out of formation and it is they that can teach us how to love more fully, to include more compassionately, so that together we may all enrich our lives and our communities. I use the possessive when I say “our daughter” but I am not referring to my wife and me alone but more importantly to all of us. To prosper, our society and civilization must share a common direction and sense of community and we must understand believe that we can all get where we are going more quickly and easily when we are traveling on the thrust and uplift of one another. How can we be sure; take a lesson on inclusion from the wild geese; take a lesson on inclusion from Peyton. Value and embrace diversity by creating a culture that truly respects and supports all people.

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