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What does peace look like? This is a question posed by Artists 4 Peace. So what do you think peace looks like?

mallards bathing North Bay2Which duck is the more peaceful? Is it the one calmly bobbing up and down giving no resistance to where the waves take him? Or the contortionist, who was twisting and turning and splashing and at times flipping upside down? If one believes that peace is a passive thing then I suspect you chose the duck in the foreground. If you view peace as that inner joie de vivre then I suspect you chose the duck in the background.

flying Canada goose North Bay

Is this goose at peace? Who wouldn’t be at peace — flying over calm waters on a sunny day? Moments before this photo was captured the goose was floating near shore seeming to be at peace with my standing there snapping photos of him. And then a group or is that a gaggle of geese came honking and flying by and got all the other geese seemingly riled up.

flying Canada geese North Bay

The thing about a moment of angst in the animal world is just that — A MOMENT. The geese didn’t attack me. The geese didn’t try to get every goose on the lake to hate or despise me because I’m different from them. The geese didn’t have to tell everyone they knew about their moment of fear thus reliving it hundreds of times. They flew a few yards away and forgot all about that one moment of fear and went back to living in the moment of swimming on a beautiful lake on a sunny day.

Canada Geese Lake Neatahwanta

Is this pretty Yellow Warbler at peace? It seems to be in this photo. I feel at peace looking at it. I love birds and my favorite color is yellow and I still remember the songs of many birds surrounding me as I took this shot.

yellow warbler RHLAnd yet, I would believe that this warbler was NOT at peace. In fact, he was quite agitated. I was way too close to this…

yellow warbler nest North Bay

He tried to draw me away from this nest. He hopped and flitted and tweeted. Is it possible to glimpse a moment in time and know what is in someone else’s heart? How often do we as humans for a fleeting moment see a glimpse of someone’s exterior and decide we know all there is to know? How often do we believe that everything is just fine because that is what we want to see?

Canada Geese Goslings Lake Neatahwanta

The gosling all snuggled against his father’s breast — is he at peace? Indeed, moments before there was chaos and I think I can go as far as to say terror. I stood on the shore deciding whether to take two steps around a fallen tree to get a clear shot or wait for the geese to swim by. Suddenly, the geese were panicked. They frantically tried to reverse direction. The goslings were getting tossed about in their parents’ wakes. As I had walked though the woods, I had inadvertently scared a Great Blue Heron who flew directly over the geese within inches of their heads. I was so stunned I missed the shot. the gosling all snuggled up against his parent is there because the fear of his parents created a ripple effect in the water and it swept him away until he collided with his parent.

Goslings North Bay

If I had to pick a photo that shows what peace looks like it is this one. At first, when I walked by the new goslings, the parents swam away and non-parental geese joined around them. I stood there peacefully at distance. And then a day or two later, the geese were content to swim by me. I stood there peacefully snapping my photos. In another couple of days, the geese allowed their babies to be on shore near me BUT with the parents looking very attentively at my every move. If I sensed them tense, I moved further away. The lake has a 10 mile circumference and yet one day — the parents turned and swam straight toward me as I stood near the shore. While the parents hung back in the water — the babies walked up onto shore. It was a phenomenal gift of peace and love and respect.

goslings and Great Blue Heron Lake NeatahwantaIn truth, I cannot tell you what peace looks like. I can, however, tell you that when you feel it there will be no doubt that you will ever want to feel anything else ever again.  I took this photo yesterday. If the heron and geese can forgive and live in peace — maybe there is hope for us humans too.

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