You could hardly see the cozy little cottage as it sat in the woods surrounded by huge oak trees. Many of them were hundreds of years old. The trees towered above the cottage, protecting it, as well as the many plants, and flowers, that lived beneath their covering.
Every morning, songbirds filled their branches and greeted the day with their sweet melody. At night, owls could be heard asking the same question over and over:
“Who? Who? Who?”
Squirrels played in them by day, chasing each other up and down their large trunks. At night the raccoons awoke from their slumber and carefully climbed down from their safe nests in the hollow limbs to eat.
The lake was just down the hill from the small cottage. It was about as far away as a man could throw a stone. It was named Finger Lake because it was shaped like fingers on a hand. It was very beautiful and had many quiet coves and secret places. There were no other houses around it, only the cottage and the woods.
On one end, where the lone cottage sat, the water was cool and deep. This was where the fish liked to be when the sun was hot.
The other end of the lake was a shallow marsh. This is where the frogs and turtles liked to live. There was even a family of beaver behind the dam they’d built out of sticks.
Lily pads grew very thick in the marsh. A frog could jump all the way across the lake on them and never get his feet wet. It was quiet and peaceful on Finger Lake.
The man who lived in the cottage awoke early and decided to have coffee on the deck facing the lake. He wanted to experience the joy of a sunny morning. He wanted to watch the sun as it rose above the tree line and filtered between the mighty oaks in long beams of bright light.
A stiff breeze blowing through the treetops caused leaves to shed raindrops captured during the night. As the drops fell through the sunbeams they sparkled like diamonds. The effect was very calming to the man sitting at his picnic table quietly watching. The coolness of the breeze on his bare arms reminded him that Fall was not far away.
His eyes followed the narrow path leading down to the lake. The sun was now over the treetops and the water was beginning to absorb its heat. His gaze fell upon the two geese who liked to hang around his dock. They were good buddies. When the man saw one he always knew the other was not far behind. One of the geese was pure white and had originally come from China. The other one was gray. He was from Canada.
As the man watched them swimming around doing what geese do when they’re free and unafraid, a group of four wild Canadian Geese soared in from the other side of the lake and landed beside them. After honking and splashing around for a bit, they attacked the white goose. They never bothered the other goose because he was the same color as they were. The man was shocked to see what the wild geese were doing.
He jumped off his deck and ran down the path towards the lake. He wanted to protect the white goose. As he ran, the man shouted, “Stop! Stop!” He wanted to scare the Canadian Geese away. As he approached, all four of them took off honking loudly.
The poor white goose was swimming around in circles. He was very confused. His neck bled where they’d pecked at it, and there were a lot of white feathers floating on the water. His buddy was floating close beside him. He never flew away during the attack, but tried to help.
The man stood there watching the two of them. A tear formed in his eye, and a deep sadness filled his heart. He was very angry at the wild geese for doing such a thing, but soon he calmed down and realized it was the natural thing for geese to do. They didn’t know any better. He stayed there for awhile to make sure the white goose would be okay and then walked back up the hill to his cottage.
While preparing to leave his peaceful home and enter the world outside his gate, the man thought of prejudice and how far its ugly hand reached. Even the animals suffered from it.
Being a human being, he had the power to choose whether he wanted to be kind like the white goose’s friend or mean and nasty like the wild geese, when they attacked her. If he wanted to make the world a better place, he must choose to be kind.
As he looked into the small mirror above the sink, he made a vow to do so. When he got to work he was going to try very hard to be kind to everybody he met, no matter what they looked like or the color of their skin.