Big Sugar is the southern boundary of my home and there is a finger of it that is forever fascinating to me. For several weeks it is like a nice healthy lagoon with swift water that moves west just beneath the surface, assuring forever nice, clean, beautiful water.
A small island has appeared and for about three weeks now a goose — do males sit on the nest?— has been setting. Impressed and inspired by her (his? their ?) patience, it has been a special gift to me to watch. Threatened from time to time by stray dogs, flying big birds, vultures, owls, she is forever patient, forever lovely. If I understand correctly, a wounded goose will leave the flock and temporarily light — with their mate — and await healing.
I meditate on their culture as it compares with the young people (America’s so-called millennials) called our most diverse generation ever. I read that as they compare with their elders, millennials are political liberals, they’re digital wizards, they’re not particularly religious, they’re slow to marry and have kids, and they’re broke — they have lower incomes, less wealth, higher unemployment, and greater debt than the boomers (those who came of age back in the 1960s and ‘70s) had at the same stage of life. They’re at risk of being the first generation in modern American history to have a lower standard of living than their parents enjoyed. More than 4 in 10 millennials are either still living with mom and dad or have boomeranged back home at some point in their young lives (see “Bridging the Generation Gap” by Paul Taylor).
Do they have the fortitude, the perseverance of the geese I am watching to wait patiently, to protect their young, to withstand the dangers necessary to raise a new generation of Americans? I hope they do. The characteristics quoted by Mr. Paul Taylor could mean they are less materialistic, more trusting, more (?) faithful and maybe more like these geese parents. I choose to believe they, like the geese, will be faithful to a mate, they will be ready to protect their prodigy, they will trust their creator, and be ready to separate themselves from the flock to be able to do so. As I said, I am inspired, I am in awe of their courage, their faithfulness.
While Blake Hurst says in “Cut To The Chase” about millennials, “Marriage, church and career are touchstones of productive lives, but millennials, for whatever reason, have little desire to be connected to these institutions or are delaying their attachments.” Is it a possibility they are finding new patterns for a different kind of life? I wonder, and I am concerned, maybe I need to have more faith in them. Some courage and some faith in our millennials (18–33 years of age) the strength of character of a pair of geese, maybe?
For now, while I await the hatching of the babies, I would like to remind you of the opening of the museum on the square in May. If you would like to contact the McDonald County Historical Society, write to us at P.O. Box 572, Pineville, 64856, check us out on Facebook, or leave a message at 417-223-7700. Come join us on the square in Pineville, and keep the faith.
Alberta Anders writes a weekly column for the Daily News.