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sammy b. good ~ samantha brown goodrich

Photo Credit: Will Stewart

Recently, I awoke to a Canadian goose on our lawn. Just one. Pacing our pale pebbly driveway. Often stopping, often stooping, she would circle small things I could not see from the window. She didn’t pace a straight path. Nor was she hurried. She seemed to be taking things in.

I, on the other hand, was worried. This goose was lost! She’s been blown off course! Will she find her flock, will they return for her? My breath fogged the window as her webbed feet zig zagged across our septic field.

Isn’t it interesting how quickly our minds build a narrative?

Early on in my cancer diagnosis, I had more questions than available answers. Waiting for more information was a cancer in itself, eating away at ordinary moments that used to feel extraordinary. My mind began narrating more scary stories than soothing ones, and I started to believe them.

Then came the letters. The emails, and the texts. Each one offering its own gentle variation of a theme, support. Friends, family, and acquaintances were holding the frightening experience with me just as it was. Their support began to manifest in my mind, slowly becoming a familiar shape, a boat.

Each card, each call, each text became a cedar plank. Each authored by a person I appreciated and loved. One friend sent me sticky-backed glow in the dark stars. I stuck these stars in the sky above this boat I was building in my mind. With my support boat tillered by these stars, I could just lay down in its hull and begin to let go. Let go of needing to know answers right away. Let go of thinking comfort comes through control. Of making up stories about geese being lost. Instead, I could just see her as she was. A goose.

The goose paced our property most of that day. I got on with the business of my day, and she continued hers. The following morning she was not there.

How do we live when we are waiting? We may pace, we may stoop, we might study small things more closely. We might leave ideas of straight paths behind and, instead, surrender just a little and allow the journey to tiller our course. Whether lying in the hull of a boat or pacing on black webbed feet, we might just leave it to the stars to carry us forward.

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