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Reflections from the Swamp2024 Millstone News Goose Lottery winners

2024 Millstone News Goose Lottery winners

Reflections from the Swamp
Richard van Duyvendyk

Dear Reader

The most anticipated day in the Corkery calendar this year was March 9th. The date varies yearly depending on when the first goose arrives on the pond. This year is earlier than usual due to an abnormally early end of winter.

From my lawn chair on the pond, I spoke to my bride at 9.35 am by cellphone. The message was, Bride, the goose has landed. Not since Armstrong, in the 1969 moon landing, said, Houston, the Eagle has Landed, have more monumental words been spoken. Corkeryarians, years from now, gathered at an anniversary or bar mitzvah, will recall the famous words from 2024: Bride, the goose has Landed.

The news spread around Corkery like a murder of crows. Spring has officially arrived. People put on their swimsuits or jumped into Coady Creek naked, overjoyed that Spring was finally here. I didn’t witness these events, but they must have happened. The first landing is such a big deal.

The first goose spread his wings and greeted me on the still-frozen pond. He looked familiar, like any other goose I’ve ever seen, but yet majestic. He knew that he was making history. His bride appeared seconds later. My bride, the goose, and his bride were the first to witness this historic occasion. It is an honour to be the official greeter to the first geese. I humbly preside over this event, realizing how important it is to respectfully greet the ambassadors of Spring.

Winter slows you down, and you see and feel more when you slow down. Going on short walks around the pond, one can see that the beavers have slowed down, and even the water slows down to a trickle. To see and feel the rhythms of nature and patiently anticipate the coming of Spring and the geese’s return is to love life. Life has its moments of tranquillity. We can carry this sense of belonging when we’re out in nature.

When Spring comes, the pace of life picks up quickly. We must book our quiet times. They are essential in keeping our balance.

In all, 62 people signed up for the Millstone Goose Lottery. These people come from all walks of life and age groups; some are long-time goosers, while others joined this year for the first time.

Some admitted that they didn’t like geese or even hate geese but realized that Spring wouldn’t come without the obligatory welcoming of the geese, so they bit their tongue and paid homage to the geese.

This year’s winner is Jack McLean, who picked March 9th in the morning. Jack lived in Almonte and Carleton Place and now resides in downtown Ottawa. Jack is the author of several books on the Baha’i faith. Baha’i means follower of the light, and light means knowledge. Jack has spiritual wisdom. He now can add seer of geese, meaning he can predict when the first goose will land in Corkery. Jack also foretold that the Robins, Blue Herons, and Swallows would return. He foresees that flowers will bloom and the grass will turn green. What remarkable insights are evident in Jack’s visions? He has kept up contact with friends in Almonte.

My brother Jeremy, who lives in St. Thomas, Ontario, is the second-place winner of the five pounds of goose droppings. My writer brother encouraged me to become a writer and edited my work for years. Without him, I would have stopped writing years ago. I’m delighted to present him with goose droppings, which will augment the bull muffins that have often garnished our stories and give them that distinctive flavour and aroma.

Tulia Sullivan, who lives in Almonte, is the third-place winner. She is eight years old. Tulia can quietly compose music on the piano during church services. She doesn’t need to read notes on the page. My bride didn’t think Tulia would appreciate the third prize of five pounds of goose droppings and suggested that I have to find another Goose Silver Dollar. I agreed with her.

I want to announce that kids twelve and under will, from now on, receive a silver Goose Dollar, even for second and third prizes. Apparently, it is my idea to change the rules. According to my bride, sometimes, after consultation, I come up with good ideas.

I called Tulia and asked if she would be satisfied with a Goose Dollar for the prize, and she said yes. Who would have guessed?

Now, what am I supposed to tell my brother? Do I tell him he can have ten pounds of goose droppings instead of five pounds? Yes, that will make him feel special too.

Thank you to all who have entered the Goose Lottery. You have given us all hope for the future. It’s been an honour to be the goose spotter. I had many quiet, enjoyable moments out on the pond.

Thank Floyd Lydon, for creating the Goose Landing certificates for this year. These certificates are the best ones we’ve ever had. Floyd has also created a 3-D print of a flying goose for each winner that you can hang on a wall or window.

I hope you all will try again next year. Thanks to the return of the geese, even the tulips and daffodils have begun stirring in the ground near the house. All of Creation can enjoy Spring!

Yours til the geese fly east

Richard Van Duyvendyk

Corkery

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