Though the weatherfolk had predicted rain, yesterday was a bright and blustery day here, and the sun so warm that we decided to cut my husband's hair outside, but on the front deck, away from the chilly north wind.
After the haircut, I headed into my new office to tackle some more filing, and he went upstairs to shower off the loose hair, and I heard his voice call, "Dear!" It was a lovely bright sound, full of promise, and I immediately began trying to imagine what he might be bringing to my attention.
"Look out the window!" he called, and then I knew: the mama goose who has been nesting at the end of our boardwalk had finally hatched her goslings, and they had begun their traditional habit of grazing in our driveway.
Sure enough, I looked out the window and there they were. There are only three goslings this year; I don't know if that means the eagle that nests in the tree across the lagoon has already gotten the others, or if this is all there were.
But it was a joy to see them once again, and to remember the spring we spent on Shaw, nursing a gosling (whom our daughters named Kiwi) which had been abandoned by its parents after having been abducted and dropped by an Osprey. Kiwi had gone for rides in our car and walks with our dog; read books with our children and slept on my husband's toes while he sat at the table reading.
So when I see that adorable yellow fuzz, I remember what the fuzz feels like under my hand, and long to tell the goose parents that I, too, have raised and protected a gosling. But of course, when I go outside and call to them -- "Kiwi, Kiwi!" (in case by some odd chance our goose, who flew away when he was grown, might somehow have found us here, or told his friends how hospitable we were) -- they back away, shepherding their babies into the water to paddle back to safety.
Kittens, goslings, the baby swallow we rescued from our cat yesterday and set back into the tree -- all of them arouse these protective instincts, these "warm fuzzy" feelings. But the cat who now whines constantly outside my door is a kitten no longer, and her constant cries for attention are merely irritating. The grown geese can have a nasty peck, and their constant squawking in the wee hours of the morning is an irritating wakeup call -- not to mention what adult goose poop does to lawns and docks. The swallows make a mess with their nests, and their noisy ministrations in the gutter outside my daughter's window keep her awake at night.
Why is it so easy to love the young and the innocent? And what is it about chattering adolescents, SUV-driving adults, and querulous and demanding elderly parents that irritates us so? And how is it that God finds all of them -- and us -- as dear and precious as these three fuzzy little goslings?