The Sleeping Goose

I like to go walking, and I rarely do it without music. It’s good exercise, and the movement sparks my imagination, so I can make up stories to the music … and obsess over some new and original thing I might write.

I took a long walk along a lake that was so large it spanned almost 50% of the horizon, and there were two Canada geese standing in the sand: one was preening itself and the other stood on one leg, not moving at all. I seemed to remember learning that geese slept on one leg, but I had never seen it with my own eyes. It was pretty cool, but in an understated sort of way – what did the goose care that people thought it was cool? – and I squinted my eyes so I only saw the bird’s silhouette. The leg was spindly, but positioned perfectly in the middle of the goose’s underside, making it perfectly balanced.

In the afternoon my friend Gary asked for a ride so he could do an errand, and I was happy to take him because it wasn’t that far and there wasn’t much else I was doing that day, but after a combination of technological foibles (wrong addresses, a screwy Siri, and deciding we knew more than my GPS even though we didn’t), we ended up more than half an hour late for his appointment. Usually something like this upsets me, being deathly afraid of the unexpected, but today I embraced the adventure, and in the end my mind was like that plastic bag from American Beauty that spent fifteen minutes dancing in the wind. (My brother David would be proud.)

In the evening I got to a rather heart-pounding moment in The Way of Kings – a richly-imagined epic with one of the most original fantasy worlds I’ve ever heard of – but I put the book down and suddenly felt purposeless. I wanted to be one of those Knights Radiant who could do extraordinary things with the help of the Stormlight from infused gemstones. I wanted to be honourable and brave and determined and magical, instead of just reading about it or making it up. I’d settle for having a spindly, yet perfectly positioned leg to support me for a period of rest – maybe attain some peace from a life of dissatisfaction and psychological failure.

So I put the book down, went into the kitchen, made myself some hot chocolate, and typed up this post.


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