Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My beloved and I are birds of a feather

I've been called a lot of things in my life, but a bird isn't one of them. That's a lie. I have indeed been called flighty, but that's a different story for a different time.

Today I am speaking of a young master's degree student from Korea. I met her briefly at a university event in which my beloved and I attended. This student and I only spoke for a few minutes, but her observations astounded me.

"You and he are just the same," she said to me in a voice just above a whisper. I laughed and agreed that my beloved and I both wear glasses these days and after almost 20 years of marriage I could see why she'd think we were beginning to look alike, too.

"No, no, no, " she insisted and pointed to the pair of us. "You are like the birds in my country. They fly together always and are one. Like you."

My eyes filled with tears and I wasn't quite sure how to respond. Her simple observation reached deep into my soul and reminded me how blessed I am to have found such a man to call my beloved.

I have spent the last couple of days wondering what sort of bird she might have been thinking of. I have an affinity toward pictures of peacocks and cranes and I love to watch the bright red cardinals dance around my bird feeder. I obsessively count the flocks of pelicans at the beach, making sure there is an even number since all those birds mate for life. Yes, I can be a silly goose.

And guess what? After some initial research I think the young student was actually talking about wild geese. The wild goose is highly thought of in Korea and is always part of the traditional wedding ceremonies. Apparently a wild goose is given as a gift, even though the bird may only have been hired for the nuptials.

Legend has it that long ago the Korean people noticed that a goose - whose mate was killed - returned to the same spot year after year to mourn her loss. The Wild Goose symbolizes that undying love. During the traditional Korean marriage ceremony there's also a pledge that is given. It says: "Black is the hair that now crowns our heads, yet when it has become as white as the fibres of the onion root, we shall still be found faithful to each other."

That's pretty deep stuff, but I figure it's something I needed to be reminded of the other day. My beloved and I have flown together as a couple for more than two decades and there have been times the journey has made our wings tired. We never give up on each other and I think the reasoning is simple:

There's no other bird I'd rather fly with. Frankly, I think we're both silly geese.