Richardson: What’s good for the goose …Written by Rachel Richardson | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve been having all of these “How did I get here?” moments lately. I spent one evening last week getting acquainted with the members and board of directors of the UpTown Association at its annual meeting. We marveled at all of the cool things going on in the area while I struggled against being completely distracted by the impressive Toledo School for the Arts jazz combo playing in the corner.
The previous evening, I was drinking tea and shaking tambourines during band practice at Old West End Records Headquarters (South End Branch). Not 48 hours later, I sat in a meeting of 20 progressive local creative minds where we discussed the grassroots movement to revitalize Toledo with culture, art and activism.
And after that, as if my head weren’t full enough, I found myself at Bozarts (very often a hub for world-changing) in an impromptu sub-committee meeting of those minds while several of them painted and built and I played with definitions of words.
The culmination of all of these gatherings solidified for me that the Creatives are a strong force in Toledo. I’ve mentioned before that camaraderie has become a sort of fuel for this cohort, which is intent on thriving here and surviving on culture and local participation. I’m seeing now that it has gone far beyond a bunch of buddies cheering each other on and has deepened to the level of all of these people looking out for each other and addressing each other’s needs.
How much do you know about geese and their flying formations during migration? We all know that geese travel in flight together in a V-shape, but I never took the time to think about why until a friend of mine introduced the idea in the context of teamwork. The first thing I learned was that though it seems as if the lead goose has a pretty big job in that it has to navigate and set the course for the whole flock, nature has it built in that another goose will naturally relieve him or her when it’s time for a rest. That room of 20 progressive minds may as well have been a flock of geese flying in the direction of sustainability for Toledo. I’m sure each of us would be willing to be lead goose.
A lesser-known fact about these geese formations is that when a goose becomes injured or sick and needs to return to the land, one or two other geese will accompany the injured one until it recovers or dies. How cool is that? Geese experience compassion. That gives me, ahem, goosebumps. It is also remarkable in the context of an issue raised by a man every Toledo artist should thank for being their advocate.
This goose literally has an injured wing and would love to be able to have it treated. In his quest to fulfill a basic need like health care, Jerry Gray wonders aloud whether there is some way to get a group rate or address the needs of other area artists who need health insurance. For the purposes of our metaphor, Jerry is playing the part of several geese It doesn’t seem right to have him anywhere but in the lead position. But, I suppose I picture him taking a break from flight and calling up to the rest of us geese about something that he sees we all need.
Did you know that it’s the job of the geese toward the back of the formation to honk encouragement to the ones in the front? That’s me. I honk so much encouragement that I bet the other geese wish I would shut up. Sorry, guys. The goose is loose.
Rachel Richardson is an activist, musician, co-founder and co-director of Independent Advocates, and a product of Toledo, Ohio. E-mail her at email@example.com.