Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

The Nenes

A story and a contemplation ~

The Nene* goose lay flat on the asphalt, unmoving.  Her body partially dismantled – just moments before – by the head-on force of a hurtling vehicle.

Her partner, or maybe gosling, stood tall.  Flapping madly, trying to reach her.

A caring man stood between them, hovering above the frantic goose.  His own arms spread wide open as he gently attempted to encircle and steer the bird off the road to safety.

But away from his departed love.

My friend observed, “He’s upset.  His partner’s been hurt.”   I said a prayer.  We skirted around the scene and drove on.

It all happened so fast.  It was like a dream.  I thought she was white.  Was it really a Nene?  He was so big, so insistent, making a strong match for the man trying to assist him.

“This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds.
To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance.
A lifetime is like a flash of lightening n the sky.
Rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain.”
-The Buddha

This life is precious!  But only if we use it well.  How will I spend my time today?

Image:  Snowmanradio / *The Nene or Hawaiian goose is the rarest goose in the world.


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  1. I’ve only seen one Nene in all my trips to Hawaii; they are magnificent looking creatures.Your story shows they also have a strong bond to another. The loss of a partner hurts, regardless of the species or circumstances.

    • Bob,

      This was my first time seeing a Nene as well. It was a sad and touching seen. Your words are so true and they can open our heart further.

  2. Sandra — a fitting contemplation and meditation for today (my birthday). Thanks for helping me continue to practice perspective and gratitude. Hope all is well!

    • Bill ~ I agree, this is the perfect contemplation for a birthday! Happy birthday. I hope you have a special, meaningful, and rewarding year. It’s lovely to “see” you!

  3. Reminders to be in the moment and to be appreciative because life is short are all around us every day. I feel this every time I see a dead animal on the side of the road. I say an energetic wish for the spirit of the animal each time and am reassured that it is the cycle of nature.

    • Debbie,

      That’s so kind-hearted of you! That’s one of the reasons I wanted to write this post – to honor the spirit of this Nene.

  4. A story to touch everyone’s heart. I read that some birds that mate for life will not take another mate if they lose theirs. I don’t know if that’s true for these geese, but that makes it even sadder. A sobering reminder to treasure every precious moment.

    • Galen,

      I’m impressed with the breadth of your knowledge. I didn’t know that about some birds. That’s fascinating. Life will never cease to amaze me. Thank you for sharing that piece of knowledge.

  5. Both of our cats are strays. Chewy, the last we took in, I found under a neighbor’s bush so weak that he could no longer get up. He could enthusiastically eat the food I’d brought him, despite all his teeth having fallen out due, the vet told us, to his having feline immuno virus or FIV. Now over a year later, we can’t even recognize the old him. His matted hair and boney spine has been replaced by a quite robust and healthy kitty.

    Flo, our rabbit, is one of the daughters of Pearl, a rabbit Margaret and I rescued from a local live meat store in an ethnic neighborhood of Chicago. When we went in to choose a rabbit to rescue, it seemed like such a difficult and daunting task. How to choose which will live? Looking into the vertically stacked cages in the back room, just past the slaughter room with walls splattered with blood from floor to ceiling, we tried to decide which one to choose. I noticed the door on the cage on the bottom, closest to the floor, was open and instinctively looked inside. At first I saw nothing, but then as my eyes got used to the dim light, I noticed a pair of eyes in the very back, as far away from the door as possible, and said to Margaret, “I think we’ve found the one.” Little did we know that Pearl, as she became named later, was pregnant with 5 little babies inside her. We’d saved 6 lives, not just one!

    Every evening after we brought Pearl home, I had a dream, more like a pinkish visual image just as I was falling asleep each night of a little baby rabbit. This continued every night after we brought her home until the morning when we had guests over. It was a special day where friends, fellow students of Sogyal Rinpoche, had gathered at our place to see some special teachings of Sogyal Rinpoche. Pearl was acting funny and had dragged a kitchen towel into her cage, pulled out some of her soft belly hair and laid down in it, heaving. In the afternoon, Margaret announced that Pearl had given birth to 5 little thumb sized babies. After that day, the dream images ended.

    Now sometimes when I look at our cats or Flo, I sometimes reminded of the suffering they’re so unaware of, that so many other animals experience or the pain that I’m unaware or unmindful of that I will be experiencing the next time sickness comes to me or when death comes to me. And to use it as a reminder to stay plugged into the preciousness of this life, this moment and everything around me.

    Thanks Sandra,

    Love, Paul

    • Paul,

      What an incredibly beautiful story, Paul! I’m so moved and rejoice in your kind effort to save lives. And the way you allow your animal friends to remind you to stay plugged into the preciousness of this life. I have one stray too and she’s a completely transformed cat from when she first found her way here.

      Thank you for blessing us with this special story!

  6. Hi Sandra,

    That is such a sad scene. I feel that the most painful and unbearable thing in life is to endure the loss of a loved one. If animals can feel it, how much more so do we as humans feel it. Such is the price of attachments which we must learn to rise above when it happens.

    Indeed life is precious and we must use our moments wisely.

    Irving the Vizier

  7. Hi Irving,

    Yes, it is sad indeed! If we understand the reality as it is, this can soften the blow and help us in our process of grief. Still, it’s not necessarily easy while we are still on the path learning to loosen our attachments. Thank you for your thoughts!

  8. Stories about hurt and dead animals always bother me, but this one was beautiful. I once came upon an injured bird in the city. I was in a car, in one of five lanes of traffic, sitting at a red light, watching this poor bird flop about in the road ahead. I had a sinking feeling as the light turned green and the traffic surged forward. And then, out of nowhere, a woman carrying a laundry basket appeared, holding out her hand to stop us. All lanes of traffic stopped as she scooped the hurt bird into her basket. And then we went on. It was amazing, like an angel had appeared in that moment. I’ve never forgotten it.

  9. Hi Sandra,
    A good reminder for me to live in the present moment. I remind myself often about that flash of lightening. It’s crazy to be worried about anything when I look at it that way! xo

  10. Hello Sandra,

    The world has been a busy place for me the last while but today I thought I’ll visit my friend Sandra for a little while. Very happy to share your story of the Nene. I have never seen such a bird but now I I have seen one through your loving eyes. Thanks for what you offer in your life and your blog.
    Your friend Chris

    • That’s so sweet of you Christopher! I appreciate our connection which goes beyond the busy times. Thank you for your kind words and thank you for your friendship.

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