Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Of Geese and Girls

In my last job, we occasionally got cautionary emails about things like not using the Internet in working hours, or failing to adhere to the company dress code.

My new employer sent a company-wide email today with an even graver warning. It wasn't about  internet usage policy or wearing flip-flops in the office. It was about the perils of provoking the on-site geese:

The geese lay eggs mid-March to mid-May, during which time they’ll want to defend their nests from any perceived threat. If you’re walking between buildings, try to keep away from the geese, taking a longer route if necessary…if they do act aggressively, calmly and slowly back away, watching out for obstacles. Try not to run if possible.

I loved that.

(Also, I can guarantee that if I am confronted by a hissing goose at any point, I will be running for the hills in a most ungainly manner. None of this backing-away-slowly-and-calmly business).

Other than the potential terrors of Goose-gate, life continues to be fairly serene.

I’m not usually affected by the change in the weather – I was born in the Winter, and it has always been my favourite season, so I don’t resent the frost, the grey clouds and hard ground the way a lot of people do, and I don't usually feel the same relief and gladness at the first sightings of sunshine. But there’s been something about the lovely Spring weather this year that I’ve found wonderfully restoring.

I’ve been reading lots about mindfulness lately, so I’m sure that has something to do with my consistently good mood, too. I always used to skim-read things like ‘the present moment is the only one there is’, thinking it trite and overly-simple. I’ve always been a planner, so the thought of relinquishing control and just being was anathema to me. But I’m getting better at it the more I practice – and realising that living mindfully doesn’t mean trapping yourself in a little bubble of Now and not caring about the consequences of the past or the potential of the future, but rather acknowledging each moment, just being aware with each of your senses: what can you see? Taste? Physically feel? What can you smell? What can you hear?

I honestly didn't realise, until I was consciously trying to be aware, how tuned out I actually am most of the time. I'll bet the geese never have that problem. I took a photo earlier (from a safe distance, of course) as Mama and Papa Goose sailed contentedly across the pond with their babies. They dipped their sleek heads under the water, trailed a wake of Vs in the green pond and experlty corralled any bundle of fluff straying a bit too far from their protection. And I thought, I can taste coffee; I can see sunlight on water, and fluff and feather; I can feel the heat of the day on my skin, I can smell bread, and wind, and water; I can hear leaves moving, and birds cheeping and footstps on the little bridge. 

And all of that might sound completely dull, but it honestly wasn't. It was beautiful.

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