"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
This week's Blogger Idol topic is "Birds of a Feather." I almost did not participate because I could not think of a decent topic. But then I did. Enjoy!
The Canadian Goose
friend Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English frend, from Old English frEond; akin to Old High German friunt friend, Old English frEon to love, frEo free
1 a : one attached to another by affection or esteem b : ACQUAINTANCE
2 a : one that is not hostile b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group
3 : Something that can happen on the Internet between people worlds apart
He was all by himself, and he stood out like a telephone pole in a parking lot.
Canadian geese do that, when they are hanging around ducks. I stood on the small footbridge and watched him idly feeding in the shallows of the small lake, in the midst of about a hundred ducks. In the entire lake, he was the sole representative of Goosekind.
He had arrived one day during the early fall before the leaves really began to change. I noticed him one day as I drove to work, sitting in the middle of the lake like some forgotten sentinal, guarding a treasure that had been lost long before. Back and forth he would swim, never still, and the mallards would scatter as he swept through them.
Sometimes in the evenings, you could hear his plaintive cry. He would take a deep breath and let go a honk that seemed to come from the very root of his soul.
You see, Canadian geese mate for life. This male was alone.
His mate was lost forever.
And he grieved.
I wonder sometimes if he wanted to be one of the ducks, carefree in their polygamous innocence. Something about it must have appealed to this goose, because he never joined the other geese when they flew overhead.
There were no birds of his feather, none at all. He was cut off and adrift.
He left the next Spring, and returned that winter as well. Once he migrated the second time, I never saw him come back. Did he fall prey to some hunter out for sport? Or did he find another mate, some other goose to fill his avian heart with joy? I like to think the latter.
Sometimes, just hanging around with others like you is enough. Perhaps he found other birds of his feather.
Today's Internet is a social structure that is unlike any that human beings have experienced in the entire history of the world. Here on the web, combining the vast numbers of people that have access with the ease with which we can find people with like mind has created an unprecidented social movement.
Instead of a society based on regional and local perspectives, we are quickly becoming a society based on the law of averages.
In other words, if there is someone out there like us, we now have the capability in our living room to find that person, even if they are thousands of miles from us.
Not only that, but such people can assemble in groups on-line, sharing thoughts, life experiences and friendship. This situation, where we can "belong" if only we dig deeply enough, has never existed before.
The bad part behind that is that the odd and disturbing guy down the street now can find a whole lot of other odd and disturbing people to hang with.
But the good part, that outweighs it all.
You see, us gooses in duckponds can now find other gooses. Birds of our feather.
We no longer have to trim our feet to fit the shoes.
Birds of a feather. You want to see some? Look at your blogrolls and buddy lists. Ten years ago this was science fiction. Now we are living it.
And I have no idea where we are headed.
A friend is someone who will help you move. A real friend is someone who will help you move a body.