I can never run past the duck pond.

At that point in my morning run, I always feel the need to slow to a walk, and even, sometimes, stop to sit on a bench. It just feels like – especially in the Spring – I need to be present with the geese and ducks returning to their Northern home. I need to be mindful. I need to breathe with them.

This morning, I stopped to stare into the eyes of a magnificent Canada goose who stood only a few feet from me and unflinchingly stared back, deep into my eyes. It felt like a sacred moment. It felt like conversation.

When I turned away to continue my journey, I noticed a woman watching me stare at the goose.

“Just wait ’til Fall,” she said.

I gave her a confused look.

“Just wait ’til Fall. They poop all over this path, those geese – it’s disgusting.”

I had no idea how to respond to her. I just carried on.

And then, as I walked away, I thought… REALLY? Just wait ’til FALL?

You can’t enjoy the magnificence of this Springtime moment because you’re dreading a poop-filled path in the Fall?

You can’t stare into the eyes of a goose because you resent it for pooping on your path some time in the distant future?

You can’t enjoy this park because those darned geese are infringing on YOUR space?

You can’t find space in your heart to share this beautiful park with the geese and just step over the poop?

What a limited, resentful, caged life she must lead!

And then suddenly I had a flashback to some of those moments when I do the same – forget the Spring and just dread the Fall. Resent people for hurting me in the future or in the past when what they’re doing right now is genuinely lovely. Forget to be mindful of the beauty all around me because I’m worried about what tomorrow will bring.

“Lady,” I would say, to her AND to me, if I could go back to that moment, “Don’t wait for Fall. Just be present in THIS moment and stare into the eyes of a goose.”