what ever happens in life, the only choice is to go forward.
|Angel carefully hung the new sign from the post. The paint wasn’t quite dry yet, but she simply couldn’t wait another moment. This act, hanging the sign, was the defining moment. This gave her that feeling of the dream becoming real; more so than signing documents or attending a closing, more so than the painting or polishing windows, more so than the placement of objects, more so than creating advertising or any of the other things she’d done to make it ready.
She stood back and just looked at it hanging there, still swinging a bit from the action of hanging it. A stranger walking by the bright yellow Victorian house with the white wrap around porch over looking the ocean would have seen a woman of perhaps sixty, dressed in blue jeans and a flannel shirt, shirt tails flapping in the breeze. A closer look would have seen graying hair cut short, curls every which way, and had they approached her, would have stopped short at possibly the greenest eyes they’d ever seen.
She ran her hand through the tangled curls, thinking that she hadn’t even brushed her hair this glorious May morning before coming out to hang her sign. Shaking her head at her self, she headed up the walk, past the late daffodils and the ready to bloom tulips and climbed the stairs to the porch. Sitting down on one of the wooded rockers scattered across the expanse of porch, she retrieved her coffee mug and drank deeply. Still holding the mug in her hands, she looked out over the ocean, white caps dazzling against the blue, blue water. Smiling, she thought back fifty years to her childhood home in New Jersey.
Angel lived in a place called Ramapo Park; a large 500 acre tract surrounding what was now called Ramapo Lake, but used to be called Rotten Pond. One of the best parts about living there were the geese. Canada geese. She’d learned early on they weren’t called Canadian geese, like everyone said and they didn’t come from Canada necessarily. But every spring and fall, the geese would arrive or depart: hundreds, sometimes thousands of geese.
Angel was one of those fortunate children who grow up with every advantage possible, with a loving family consisting of her grandmother Annie, her parents and a bothersome older brother. She had a horse and her own small rowboat named “The Pussycat”, which she would row to a small island in the lake. She grew up with the dreams only a princess can have.
She learned to love the geese, often scattering food for them. Two of the geese, who came to be named Momma and Poppa Goose returned every year. Her grandmother would call her and together they would go down to the lake and watch as V after V of geese flew in, waterskiing to a stop in the water. She would call, “Here Momma Goose, Here Poppa Goose, Quack, quack, quaaaack.” Over the years, her voice, coming to mean food, those same two heads would pop up and the same two geese would quickly swim over for the food they knew she’d have.
Every year these two geese would teach their babies to fly by running down the hill in the yard, flapping their wings, until eventually the baby geese became airborne. She would miss a day of school because everyone would sit in the porch room watching the geese learn how to fly. Angel would giggle as the now airborne geese would stop flapping their wings and tumble tail over beak as they tried to land. She learned much from watching the geese. Her grandmother would point out how the babies tried, and tried and tried again to fly, running down and climbing back up the hill to try again.
It was one of Angel’s chores, along with walking to the spring for water and feeding the horses, to feed the geese every morning when they would come up to the door and knock on it with their beaks. She learned of being responsible for other creatures and what it meant to have others relying upon her.
Her father told her about one of the amazing habits of Canada geese. They would mate for life. They made a life long commitment to each other. Her parents set a further example of this, eventually sharing 42 years together until Angel’s father died. She grew up thinking that that was how marriages were; a life time commitment.
Time passed and the seasons were told; by lilacs blooming and the geese arriving, school vacations and baby geese, leaves turning her mountain fiery reds and golds and watching the geese fly away, cold quiet of snow blanketing the mountain and the frozen lake, a waiting period till the geese flew home again.
One autumn, when Angel was at that age when young women begin to dream dreams of forever loves and their bodies are becoming unfamiliar, and when those dreams urge them to sprout the wings of independence, Poppa and Momma goose showed up for their morning feed. Poppa goose walked slowly, head low instead high and long necked. A wing dragged on the ground beside him, wing feathers collecting dust and leaves.
His wing was broken. She was told that if he couldn’t fly away this fall, that it was possible he would die. Momma goose might not be able to protect him from predators and that her life was in danger too, because if he were injured, she would not fly away, but stay at his side. It also meant they would not be able to migrate, and so she would be feeding them all winter.
Angel and her father made a place in the barn easily accessible to the geese and piled hay inside for warmth. They began leaving a trail of bread into the barn every day. After a few weeks, the geese had become comfortable with being in the barn and began building themselves a nest in the hay. They didn’t build it quite where everyone thought they would though. They built it in Angel’s rowboat in a different part of the barn.
All winter, Angel fed the geese and made sure they had water. All winter she shoveled a path from the barn to the lake and broke up the ice at water’s edge so the geese would have a place to swim. Angel would sit on a bale of hay writing in her journal as the geese regarded her from their spot in her boat, “The Pussycat.” She always thought it funny the geese had picked that spot. She used to talk to the geese, telling them her dreams of finding the perfect man to spend her life with after college. She never doubted this would happen.
The following fall, Momma and Poppa Geese flew away with the thousands of other geese. Poppa Geese, his wing healed and strengthened by exercise over the summer, flying point, Momma at his left as they flew south. They didn’t return in the spring.
Shortly after this, Angel went off to college, and then out into the world. Her parents had given her all they had to give. They had taught her well and given her the wings to fly.
The ringing phone startled Angel from her reverie. Walking inside the airy entry foyer and walking across the wide planked floors to the kitchen, Angel answered the phone. It was her daughter Kira calling from Spain where she and her husband were stationed in the Navy.
“Hi Mom How’s it going? Everything set for the Grand Opening?”
“Yes it is! And! We are fully booked for the next few months for the weekends! Have you gotten your orders yet?”
“Yes. That’s why I’m calling. Garret and I will be arriving sometime next week after we muster out. We are so excited to be doing this with you. It just still seems so unbelievable that when you found that place, it even had a gate house! Oh Mom, this is such a dream come true.”
“Sure is, sweetie. And I have another surprise for you. After the two of you are settled in, I’m going to add a bookstore/gift shop in the round room. It is perfect for it!”
“I wondered about that. Well, Garret and I can take care of the main house, well, at least for a while we both can. May need your help there, after a while, Mom. Or maybe we’ll be doing well enough to hire some extra help.”
Angel gasped. “You’re not…”
“Yes, Mom or should I say “Grand.” We are pregnant! The baby is due at Christmas!
"How’s THAT for a Christmas Present! And before you ask, I feel great! Well, I’ve got to get to work. See you soon, Mom. We love you.”
“Love you both too, sweetheart. Can’t wait!”
Angel walked back out on to the porch with a fresh cup of coffee. She felt warm and excited and oh! So very happy. Setting her cup down on the porch railing, she stood there delighting in the lilacs and their scent washing over her. Her mind drifted again to the past.
Angel’s dreams of fairy tale endings never seemed to come true. Her real world encounters had been fraught with dragons and menacing ogres, but she never could find that valiant knight to rescue her or carry her off on his white steed. Somewhere along the way after several failed marriages and three, wonderful in spite of everything children, she came to the conclusion that she certainly hadn’t learned to fly very well. She had made poor choices in husbands. Her flights had been away from abuse rather than the lifelong flights of the Canada goose of her childhood. Her successes had been in writing flights of fancy, rather than in forming that ‘V’ where problems and troubles were solved by the formation of those two individual souls forever joined and working together.
Eventually she had given up finding the commitment seen as a child of the female goose braving everything and anything to stay with the mate with the broken wing.
Refocusing her dreams, she’d worked and written, eventually realizing her other dream of becoming published. Her children having flown wide and far, her life devoted to writing, she’d published several more books and was even now, finishing two more set for publication in the fall. That had made this dream into a reality, as well as the cozy book/gift shop which was her next project. No, her life certainly hadn’t followed the paths she had once thought it would, but she was, she realized, happy, excited about her life and flying straight into a whole new adventure.
Once again Angel heard the phone ringing inside. “Hello?”
“Hi. I was wondering if I might make some reservations for the weekend of June 18th?”
“Certainly. Will this be just for you or…”
“It will be for two for three nights. It is a little surprise I’m putting together for my wife and I for our 35th anniversary.”
“Oh how wonderful. I will put you two in the Wing Tower, if stairs are not an issue.”
“No,” he replied, “Stairs are no problem. Can you tell me a little about the room? I really want this to be perfect.”
“Well, the Wing Tower is a round room with an ocean view and a private small balcony. It has a queen sized canopy bed, a fireplace and a private bath with a Jacuzzi. It is decorated with hand pieced quilts of Canada geese and antique furniture. It is really, a lovely room….
Outside, a car slows down and then pulls into the drive. A couple gets out, eagerly taking in the view and the sunny yellow Bed and Breakfast perched on the cliff.
“Oh Honey, don’t you just love the name of this place? ‘The Broken Goose.’ Isn’t it just perfect?”
************that's it so far...my question is...should I continue?*************