Saturday, 8 December 2007

The Power of the Honk

Posted by speedygeoff on Saturday, December 08, 2007 with 2 comments
In the good old days when I used to visit Portsea, I was a teenager then but now I am not, all that is left is a very good memory, Percy Cerutty used to provoke us to “soar like an eagle”. But now-days I think that eagles are over-rated. OK, you get the odd eagle who can over-come all odds and do something extra-ordinary, and one day I shall wax lyrical on how inspiring they can be, but eagles with all their magnificent qualities tend to be loners: they are up there soaring majestically alone. Going solo.

Rather than focusing on the undoubtedly tremendous insights our life might gain were we to live, fly and soar like an eagle; the metaphor which means much more to me, the bird I can really identify with, is the goose.

For a start, look at all those goosy sayings. The ones about being silly; or about scaring (saying “boo”), or the ones about laying golden eggs. It appears that geese are as active as eagles, but are not very bright. That’s me, down to a tee. I am not very bright but I waddle around making a fool of myself, happily ignorant of the fact.

Where we really differ, we geese, from eagles, is that eagles soar alone. Eagles don’t form clubs. We geese club together and help each other out. If you see yourself as an eagle, sure, go ahead, soar alone. There are a few such isolated cases (pun intended). We read about the eagles in the back pages of our newspaper. Sometimes eagles succeed, and when they do they succeed splendidly. Sometimes eagles fail, and then they fail with a great crash. You know who I’m talking about.

But if you are like me and are a goose and not an eagle, you just might find it of value to team up with the rest of us gooses and get some mutual encouragement and support. My motto is “Fly Like a Goose”.

Watching geese from the ground is a poetic, even mystical experience, they look to be flying easily and effortlessly in their V formation, they look serene, it looks very peaceful. Like the grace of a top runner in full flight, at top speed they seem to just flow without effort. But, if you were up in the flock you would find it very, very different. What would instantly startle you would be the noise the geese were making. The geese aren’t just gliding along silently; they are constantly making a loud, raucous racket, honking to one another.

These honks are simply for one purpose: they are creating an environment where every goose is being continually encouraged and supported by the other geese to do their best, to keep in formation, to succeed in their goals of speed and endurance and form. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were also being encouraged to maintain three wing-flaps per second! (training group in-joke, sorry). But just the noise, the sounds, of honking, serve as sufficient reminder to continue and persist and endure and focus.

This has been a very long explanation of why, at the track, among the old clich├ęs of “looking good” and “just one lap to go”, you might just occasionally hear, if you listen very carefully indeed, the cry of “honk honk”. It doesn’t mean “Pull over, I am passing”. It means “Go Go Speedy Geese”.


  1. You are not now a teenager?

    I don't think we should 'fly in formation' when racing on the track. I noticed you gave Griffin a friendly honk on Thursday to ask him to run on the inside (when being overtaken) rather than off KT's wing :)

  2. Geese also make excellent guardians, and are very loyal. They can also be bl**dy agressive when provoked!

    honk honk!