Arranged Marriages, Beauty, Canada Geese, Childbirth, Daniel Tomasulo, Danny Quirk, death, Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies?, Happiness, Here If You Need Me, Huffington Post, Kate Braestrup, Kenneth Iserson, Love, Loyalty, Maine State Trooper, Marty Seligman, Owah Tago Siam, Positive psychology, Semper Fi, Semper Fidelis, Sexual Fantasies, U2, V formation, Yahweh
Owah Tagu Siam
Daily chant time, folks! Say it with me now, Owah Tagu Siam… Owah Tagu Siam… Owah Tagu Siam… Owah Tagu Siam… Oh What a Goose I Am…. Yes! Oh What a Goose I Am, Indeed! My husband and I have taken a vow to remain goose-like. In fact, I think we should all be more like geese! Sit tight, folks, let me explain…
Did you know that Canada geese can teach us a lot about life? Well, if you are in their migratory path, you’ll notice that each autumn the Canada geese fly south for the winter to escape some very frigid temperatures. Notice the V formation that they fly in, as this is not just by chance. It is simple physics that help us to understand why this V formation works; the goose in front takes on the main brunt of the air resistance, while the geese behind spend less of their energy by riding “on the tails” of the goose in front of them. The flock can fly about 70% farther with the same amount of energy exerted than if each goose few alone!
Ah, but watch the geese long enough and you’ll sometimes see the lead goose falling to the back of the formation as the next one in line takes the lead. Brilliant! They take turns! In addition, these geese make the most beautiful “Honk, Honk, Honk” sound, and it’s not merely music to my ears, it’s motivational! The geese are continuously communicating with each other and “honking” to motivate the lead goose. Personally, I like to imaging that they are saying, “You can do it!”, in their very best Waterboy voice!
I’ve always had an affinity for geese, although this morning really just reaffirmed my admiration for these creatures. As my husband was in the shower in morning, I sat in the bathroom reading aloud some statistics about sexual fantasies and how they are normal even in healthy and happy relationships. (Yeah, my husband and I are cool like that. It’s all about preventing hedonic adaptation!) I was reading from a Huffington Post article that explained the survival theory of sexual fantasies, and was happily surprised to read that geese are the only species that pair only once during their lifetime. In fact, if one mate dies, the widow goose stays unmatched until death! (Although, the article, suggests that this is not the wisest way to go for keeping the Earth populated, thus the survival instinct of sexual fantasies about someone other than the primary partner. However, I disagree! Canada geese have kept themselves very well populated!) Well, I can relate to that. You see, my husband and I are sort of obsessed with each other. In fact, we have made a vow that we are going to defy our own words that we included in our vows “till death do us part”. Yes, we have a pact: if my husband dies before I do, I will remain single; and if I die before my husband does, he will remain single, so there will be absolutely no question about who we will “be with” in the Heaven. (We LOVE being in LOVE!)
Now, back to my obsession with geese; they are also fiercely loyal. And by fierce, I mean FIERCE – the Merriam-Webster definition, as well as the Urban Dictionary definition #6. Don’t get near their babies or their nest – OH NO! They will start hissing, and flapping their wings, and they will chase your a$$ down! Yes, that’s sort of like me when someone tries to mess with my family! Ha! I’m that mean mama goose who will go crazy on your a$$! Ha!
I adopted an intense perspective of loyalty after reading one of my favorite books from one of my favorite women, Here If You Need Meby Kate Braestrup. In this book, Braestrup describes her immensely painful, yet transcending and transformational ordeal of having to identify her husband’s remains, after he was killed in a car accident during a chase on an icy road (he was a Maine State Trooper), and the ensuing process of laying her husband to rest. It was at this point that she remembered her father’s words, as he recalled his Marine motto, “Semper Fidelis” or “always faithful”, as well as her promise to her husband after she read the book Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies?, by Kenneth V. Iserson, M.D.. Now, going back to before her husband died, Kate writes in her book Here If You Need Me, that after she read Iserson’s book, which was a (wildly romantic) anniversary gift from her husband, Braestrup realized that we, as a society, have become so sanitary and so far removed from the process of death that we have become conditioned to leave the ugliness of death into the hands of others (And in my opinion, we have done the same thing with the beauty of child birth. Empower yourselves, women! Childbirth is wonderful! Embrace it! Don’t allow doctors to dictate how you will experience childbirth! Although that’s another post in itself.). Braestrup wrote that after she read the book, she called out to her husband, Drew, from her comfortable lawn chair, “Will you take care of my body when I die?”, and his apt response was, “Sure, honey”. After that commitment, Braestrup felt instantly more “like a Marine” she “felt distinctly braver”, and it is this feeling of faithfulness which led to her firm desire to personally be responsible for washing and dressing her husband’s lifeless and broken body, and then accompany her husband’s body to the crematory, instead of leaving the task to the mortician.
As you might imagine, after I read this immensely moving story, I called out to my own husband as tears rolled down my cheeks and I sobbed, “Honey, will you take care of my body when I die”? Well, my husband didn’t give me the quick, “Sure, honey” response. He came into the bedroom room where I was sitting up on our bed, gripping the book with one hand and wiping my eyes with a tissue with the other, and he said, “WHAT?!”. Needless to say, after I read to him the moving excerpt about Kate and her experience, he looked at me with tears in his own eyes, and said, “Of course”.
So, that’s our story of how we adopted the motto “Semper Fidelis” into our relationship. Always faithful. Just like the geese who, when one is tired or ill or dying, will be accompanied by another goose, while the others continue on their journey, for as long as the goose needs to recuperate or die in the presence of a loved one, rather than all alone. Yes, my husband and I are geese. Emotional, loving, passionate, teary-eyed geese, which are fiercely loyal to each other and to our family, but most of all to God.
By the way, my dear readers, did you know that my husband and I had an arranged marriage? As you may, or may not know, my husband is from India and I am Irish and Polish, with a wee bit of Scottish. Although it is neither our nationalities nor our customs that have anything to do with our arranged union. Yes, well, I was telling this to a friend the other day. I told him, “Yeah, my husband and I have an arranged marriage. My Father arranged it all.” My friend, knowing my and my husband’s background, responded in utter shock, “YOUR father arranged YOUR marriage?!!! NO WAY!!!” And I was like, “Seriously, my Father did! YAHWEH!!!” Ba dum tssshh!
Moral of this blog post? Be more like Canada geese. Love each other more intensely. Encourage each other. Support each other. Lift each other up. Be eternally faithful to each other. Not only to your spouses and loved ones, but to all of humanity! BE HAPPY!!!
Related articles and links:
Sexual Fantasies: ‘The Normal Bar’ Finds Fantasy-Infidelity Link (Huffington Post: Divorce): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/26/sexual-fantasies-the-norm_n_2554070.html
5 Thinks Geese Can Teach Us About Teamwork: http://lenwilson.us/5-thing-geese-can-teach-us-about-teamwork/
Fierce, Merriam-Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fierce
- Fierce, Urban Dictionary: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fierce
- About Kate Braestrup: http://www.katebraestrup.com/aboutKate.html
- Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup: http://www.amazon.com/Here-If-You-Need-Me/dp/B002SB8QZ0
- Awesome song, Yahweh by U2: http://youtu.be/jyzPtjIP2eo
- Bed and Bored by Daniel Tomasulo, Ph.D. http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/08/18/bed-bored-the-element-of-surprise-in-making-love-last/
- Just for fun on this Friday! Danny Quirk artist: http://dannyquirkartwork.tumblr.com/