Thursday, September 25, 2008

"V" Formation

On my long run on Tuesday, I had what I call a "National Geographic" moment. There were probably about 50 or so birds on the ground, eating and doing other bird things. As I approached them running, they suddenly all took off in a whirlwind upward toward the sky. It was like a gigantic wind came across with all these black spots in the air. I just stood there in awe. I've seen this before many times, but it was beautiful to watch.

It reminded me that fall was here. Although the birds haven't started to migrate yet, they soon will, heading south for the winter. Birds fly in what is called the "V" formation, because of its efficiency. Essentially, it is less energy expenditure for flying long distances. You can read more about why birds fly in the V" formation here and here.

Years ago, I received an e-mail about the significance of the "V" formation in birds The e-mail said the author was Angeles Arrien, however, according to this website, it was written by a Robert McNeish. Whichever the case, it is a wonderful piece, and I wanted to share it with you.

image: Wikipedia

This fall, when you see geese heading south for the winter flying along in "V" formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way.

FACT: As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an "uplift" for the bird immediately following. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock has at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

LESSON: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

FACT: When a goose flies out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone. It quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the birds in front of it.

LESSON: If we have as much common sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others. It is harder to do something alone than together.

FACT: When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation, and another goose flies to the point position.

LESSON: It is sensible to take turns doing the hard and demanding tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent of each others' skills, capabilities, and unique arrangements of gifts, talents, or resources.

FACT: The geese flying in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

LESSON: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one's heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek. We need to make sure our honking is encouraging and not discouraging.

FACT: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two other geese will drop out of formation with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their flock.

LESSON: If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by our colleagues and each other in difficult times as well as in good!

I hope each of you have a community or support network to help you along the way in recovery. No one should ever have to fight his alone.


Gaining Back My Life said...

One of my former bosses shared this with me years ago. I stil thank him for it :)

It's funny b/c I was just thinking of this the other day, while watching the birds in the sky. I'm glad you shared the link.

Tiptoe said...

GBML, yes, this one has circulated quite a bit, but I still love it.

I guess were thinking alike!

PATRICK said...
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brie said...

This post made me cry. You know I have an affinity with ducks and geese, and well, the part about two geese helping another if it gets hurt or shot, tears were flowing. I guess you'd just have to read my newest post to know why, I don't have the energy or courage to type it all out again...thanks for sharing, though, it was what I needed.

Tiptoe said...

Brie, I'm glad this post helped you. Maybe your friend will be one of the geese that are flying now. I hope you take care of yourself while dealing with this loss.