When I was a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English in Thailand, every class in every subject began with the students standing up, bowing to the teacher, and wishing them a good day. For most classes, of course, this exchange was in Thai. But when I walked into my first class on my first day of school I was greeted by a group of grinning students, who shouted at me in unison, “Goose morning, teacher!”
I know that part of my job as a teacher was to correct their pronunciation, but I loved the daily “goose morning” so much that I never corrected it. In fact, “goose morning” became the unofficial greeting among my Peace Corps friends whenever we gathered for a weekend together in Bangkok.
I had not thought of that in years, but this morning when I was getting out of my car, I looked to the left and there was one of our neighbors I hadn’t seen for a while, a Canadian goose, looking straight at me. “Goose morning,” I said. It honked in reply.
Then when I came into my office, I looked at Facebook and this was the first thing that appeared — an icon of poet Mary Oliver, along with the text of her wonderful poem “Wild Geese.” I guess it is just a goosey kind of day.
I am looking forward to being with you and back in the saddle, so to speak, this Sunday. Remember that there is only one service at 10 a.m. During the liturgy of the word we will have our annual parish meeting, followed by the Eucharist. The bulletin is attached. I hope to see all of you.
And here is Mary Oliver’s wonderful poem and the beautiful icon of her (and the geese) by Kelly Latimore.
~Wild Geese “You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.” ~Mary Oliver