Reflections of Geese …. and Face Masks

October 12, 2020- In honor of Mom’s 84th Birthday-Given to the family with love ~ Dee

Nearly every day I hear and see flocks of geese flying overhead. We have lived near a river for over 20 years and so daily sightings of geese are common.

Each time I hear and see them I pause and smile. And I wonder…..

Grandma Wheatley’s favorite living things were birds….especially geese.  Each day her routine consisted of eating breakfast at her kitchen window and watching all the birds in her yard.  No matter where we were with her, she would stop and pause in her tracks every time a flock of geese flew overhead and she would exclaim, with hands clasped to her chest “Oh, aren’t they just beautiful. Listen to them. I just love them!”. Grandma put an intimate meaning to the phrase “goose bumps”. 

Some years ago I found  information on goose symbolism –  

If you want something done – give it to the Goose. Persevering, dogged, and ambitious to a fault, the Goose sets goals for accomplishment, and always obtains them. The goose is determined to succeed at all cost – not for the approval of others – but those with this Native American animal symbol competes with his/her own internal foe. Driven is the watchword for the Goose’s dominating personality trait – which makes them excellent in business and competitive sports. When tempered with supportive, nurturing family and friends, the Goose excels in all things he/she attempts. In a loving environment the Goose can be very passionate, humorous, and gregarious.Here are some attributes of the goose:* Communication* Determination* Fellowship* Teamwork*
* Confidence* Protection* Bravery* LoyaltyGeese are incredibly gifted navigators and instinctively know the way across the long haul to warmer climates. They forge ahead with confidence and bravery. Lessons we all can learn from our totem geese include:     * Remember your roots – don’t forget the people who helped you along the way
    * Follow your gut – rely on intuition and instinct in order to get where you need to   be
    * Communicate your needs to others – no one can help you if you don’t speak out
    * Protect that which is most valuable, but make sure you have your priorities straight      (meaning, be sure you’re protecting that which is worth protecting).

All of this is very fitting for who Grandma was.  She was steadfast and brave (always forging ahead no matter what the risks or obstacles), driven by her confidence to succeed.  She was very good at business affairs and definitely was a communicator (in many ways….). She raised her own child, our Mom,  with these attributes, which carried Mom over into her own adult life and on to us,her children.  Grandma was a protector, always stating that she would defend anything or anyone who came in harm’s way of her “babies”.  She had an uncanny sense of intuition that led her – and us – on many creative and adventurous paths.  Grandma was definitely a leader and inspiration to everyone who knew her. Grandma and Mom were very much like sisters. Caring for (and yes even arguing with) each other like sisters and always watching out for their babies. 

The year of 2020 has been filled with events and circumstances that have resulted in loss and uncertainty. Mom’s transition is etched in our repository of 2020 memories of the year, along with the reflection of lifetime memories that have come to surface.  Recently I embarked on creating face masks out of colorful, durable fabric that had been used as sacks for flour and grain that Grandma had saved from her young adulthood and later gave to me. As was common during that time Grandma made clothes from the fabric. During the 2020 pandemic it dawned on me that it was time to get this fabric out of storage and make face masks and drawstring bags to store the masks. I used thread and ribbon from Mom’s sewing supplies that she had used in her own creating.  In a sense, the face masks I have made are Grandma’s ways of protecting her babies in these adverse times and a reminder of the durability of Mom’s soul who endured so much in her life, but always found beauty in life around her. 

I was showing what I had made to a friend and explaining the history of the fabric and suddenly two geese flew by. I looked at my friend and told her how much Grandma adored geese. My friend gasped. We paused. I couldn’t help but wonder if the two geese that flew by were Grandma and Mom in what Mom might call a “fly over”. 

Each day when I hear these flying beauties I wonder if Grandma is among them. I wonder if Mom is flying with her and I wonder if they are watching over and protecting us – and each time I hear the honk of these geese, a sense of peace comes over me.  And somehow I know that Grandma and Mom are indeed with us in many ways more beyond our memories.

On the occasion of Mom’s 84th birthday, may we feel her warmth, love, comfort, reassurance and protection, influenced by Grandma, as we wear or display our face masks….and hear the sounds of geese flying overhead! 

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