(I wrote this piece for The Wild Hunt last month about belief and coincidence. Much of it centers around the pilgrimage, but more importantly it defines the how and why around the approach that I’m taking towards these coinciding events (such as the event below) as they occur.)
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Nowadays, the geese chase me down every single time I set foot in the stretch of Waterfront Park just south of the Burnside Bridge. They started last summer, but only recently has it been constant.
My first assumption was that they got word from the crows that I carry peanuts, and acting on that assumption I would always toss them a handful and not think much more about it.
But then the geese started showing up in my dreams, and then Rhyd kept mentioning a goose-footed queen that may be connected to certain Mari-Morgans that may be connected to certain other Marys that may be connected to other Mothers and it all just kept going in that direction until I realized that perhaps the insistence of the geese had more to do with just peanuts.
And then yesterday, they chased me again. And as I now have feet and mothers in my thoughts much more than I do peanuts, I looked down at the one closest to me, watching its webbed feet as it ran towards me, watching the movement and the structure of the goose foot. I watched the ripple of the foot bones, encased by webbing yet protruding like claws, and I noticed almost immediately that the goose had a slight malfunction in its right foot and was compensating for the injury in its gait.
I softly gasped as I recognized my own foot injury in the movement of the goose. For the past several months I had become preoccupied with my right foot and how it would affect the pilgrimage. It had become a rather nagging source of doubt, and more than once I had nearly talked myself out of the trip using my foot as the excuse.
The goose stared at me, looking rather confused as to why I seemed surprised. The goose then looked down at its own foot, its web-as-claw, and reached its neck out slightly towards my right foot. I jumped back instinctively. The goose gave me a foolish look, shook its head, and walked away. A few yards out, it took off, flying across the river.
I looked down at my own right foot and understood the message immediately. I gave the other goose some peanuts and kept going.