A counselor once told me that I needed to "find my ducks." "Huh?" I said. She explained that participating in some sort of community with like-minded and like-spirited people would help with my depression. "You know," she said, "like the ugly duckling story. I guess I should say you need to find your swans." Either way, her phrase stuck with me. Just as the "duckling" in Hans Christian Andersen's tale discovers that he is not ugly, he just isn't a duck, I needed to figure out the ways in which the religious beliefs I'd grown up with were and were not true to the person I am. And I needed to find my swans.
After that conversation I was more attuned to ducks and swans and enjoyed watching how they popped up in my life.
I enjoyed the silliness ducks sometimes seem to have, and that helped me enjoy my own silliness. I watched ducks live in community, and I reflected on swans' fierce loyalty to each other. On my one-day retreat last December, I learned more about the symbolism of swans and their representation of transformation, intuition, and dreams. A few days after that retreat, while driving in town, I saw a swan sitting by the side of the road, in the grass between the curb and the sidewalk. She was just sitting there serenely, as swans seem to do, all alone, as if swans always sat in urban areas with no water immediately nearby. I took that as a totem, a symbol of the liminal space in which I've been living for several years. A sign and a promise that transformation is taking place. Perhaps a community is on the threshold.
And now I've been goosed. Canadian geese live with the ducks in the river which flows through the center of our city. When I watched the ducks I watched the geese as well and enjoyed how they also followed their leader everywhere, honk honk honking, waddling, gliding. Geese live by the motto "Leave no goose behind." When they migrate, if one goose becomes injured or ill, another stays with the first until he/she either heals or dies. I love that. What has the Wild Goose said to you lately?
More Synchroblog posts, including some from people who were at the festival: