Hello everyone.

Today I was exploring a nature preserve just behind my new home in Rhode Island.  I was walking along the trail admiring the dry winter grasses when my lab startled flock after flock of Canadian Geese which were floating in an inlet just off Narragansett Bay.  I watched the birds as they skittered into the air and noticed something I had never seen before.  While some birds flew forward, others were virtually still in the air, flapping their wings to maintain their position as the flock formed around them.  Eventually they formed their standard V positions and moved off across the water.

Canadian Geese in flight. (Source:Wikipedia)

Canadian Geese in flight. (Source:Wikipedia)

As I watched these birds I thought, retrograde motion.  In fact, like the planets from our viewpoint, the birds maintaining a constant position looked like they were moving backward against the birds moving forward.  But more than the visual similarity, I recognized a similarity in meaning.

Mars and Mercury retrograde

With Mars and Mercury retrograde, we may feel like we’re standing still or losing ground.  It may look to an outside observer that, like the planets, we are hampered internally or externally from moving forward.  As much as we would like to make progress toward our goals, especially with the new year, we may find ourselves waiting for others or revisiting our plans for the year.  (Or like me, maybe your office was stuck in a moving van in New Jersey for a week.) 

But those geese showed me that sometimes we have to stay in one place so that other factors have time to form around us.  Maybe those stationary geese arrived at their proper place in the formation too soon and had to wait for the others.   Maybe it wasn’t their turn to take the lead, so they had to allow the leaders to fly forward.  Or maybe they were some kind of sentinels, establishing for the rest of the group the general area to fall into line.  Whatever it was, the retro-gradation obviously had its purpose.

Elegant stillness

There was such elegance in their stillness; waiting, yes, but with no impatience.  It did look like hard work; much harder work than motion.  But the instant came when they could move again and I had to respect the deep wisdom that guided both the waiting and the flight.

I can’t help but noticing how natural this process of stopping, waiting, retracing is.  Every kind of motion has its purpose; it’s up to us to recognize it and take advantage of it.  Are you in retrograde motion?  What positive purpose could there be?  Please share your examples in the comments section above.

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