Grey is neutral. Grey is balance. Grey is the Tao, the middle way, moderation, in everything —including moderation.
Grey is moisture and protection, like clouds, quenching the land and hiding the glaring sun.
Grey is glum, like Eeyore. Kul used to call me Eeyore. Grumpy, or sullen. She said I didn’t know the effect of my moods, how I would throw my energy around. I’m sorry for her that she had to deal with that, and thankful she helped me see it. That’s one side of grey.
Grey is subtle. Grey is humble. Grey is benign, and indistinct. It doesn’t draw attention to itself, it blends in, it speaks seldom and gently, it matches its energy to its surroundings.
Grey is the color of geese.
I had a dream one time. I was sleeping in the back of our van, that Marc and Robb and I bought for our cross-country trek after college. (Now that I think about it, we named the van Eeyore.) We were in Scottdale, Arizona. I dreamt of myself in the back of the van, and became aware that I was dreaming, seeing myself from the outside. I heard geese overhead. I looked up and saw grey geese against a grey sky. As is the feeling in a lucid dream, I could fly, or float, so I drifted up toward the geese, merged in with them, became them, became the grey.
Another time I was going to a sweat lodge one evening, on the mesa in Bolinas. I took a nap on top of this mound, they called Indian Mound because they found arrowheads there and such. It was some kind of significant place. A flock of geese woke me up from my slumber, flying low right over me. They woke me up just in time to make it to the sweat. When I got there, they said the geese had flown right over them too. On a straight line from the sweat lodge to me, they flew.
One lesson of Geese is the nature of teamwork and leadership.
Geese fly thousands of miles in their migrations by drafting off each other. As they fly in a V, they create a vortex wave that swirls out and pushes forward each one behind. They take turns in front. When one gets tired, it peels out and finds a place back where it can rest. By sharing the lead, they go long distances together, much further than what any single bird could fly alone.
At Sloans Lake in Denver, the geese come there during the grey winter. Right next to the lake is St. Anthony’s Hospital, where I was born. Later in her life, my mom moved back there, and to keep her heart healthy she would walk around the lake every morning. When I went to visit, we would walk together. The geese there keep the lake from freezing over completely by swimming in circles, keeping the water moving. So there are these holes in the ice with a few geese constantly swimming in circles. They take turns. One goose will get cold and tired and jump out of the hole, and another one will jump in. By sharing the task, they always have water.