It’s never too late to find your way back home

Northern News (Kirkland Lake) - - NEWS - DOUG YADE

At times you can hear them be­fore you see them, fly­ing in the large V pat­tern, maybe one kilo­me­tre high, head­ing south of course. The honk­ing geese sig­nal the tran­si­tion be­tween sum­mer and fall and as much as we don’t like this `sig­nal’ still it is beau­ti­ful to hear and see.

Just how did they come up with this idea of the V for­ma­tion? Some­how they’ve learned to do less work. Af­ter all, fly­ing the V is like walk­ing through the snow with your par­ents when you were a kid. By fol­low­ing in their foot­prints it makes it much eas­ier to walk.

This V for­ma­tion along with a favourable wind en­ables geese to fly more than 1000 km in one day. Where do they get that stamina? I wouldn’t even want to drive that far in one day, es­pe­cially on high­way 400 which of­ten re­sem­bles the `park­ing lot’ for­ma­tion.

It is more amaz­ing that first-year birds can find their win­ter home de­spite never hav­ing seen it be­fore. And then they re­turn the fol­low­ing spring to where they were born.

Even with a GPS we some­times don’t do that well.

Do the geese use the sun, the stars, the earth’s mag­netic field or pre­vi­ously seen land­marks? We don’t re­ally know. A re­cent idea sug­gests their reti­nas, the pho­to­sen­si­tive nerve layer deep in the eye, acts as a chem­i­cal com­pass that in­ter­acts with the mag­netic field. It’s merely an ed­u­cated guess. Given the fact that we know about one per­cent of how the eye works my guess is that we have a bit more to learn.

I some­times think of the prophet Isa­iah’s words [chap­ter one] when he says that an­i­mals know where and when to go un­like many peo­ple who stray blindly through bumpy back roads lost and lonely. He records, “My peo­ple don’t rec­og­nize my care for them . . . loaded with bur­dens of guilt . . . turn­ing their backs on the Lord.”

And yet, we do have a nav­i­ga­tional tool to help us. The apos­tle Matthew records the words of Jesus, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy bur­dens, and I will give you rest.”

Look it up for your­self in God’s GPS, the Bi­ble. It’s in Matthew chap­ter eleven and there is more there to read. It could help you find your way `home’.

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