The goslings weren’t having any of it.
There were three of them, too young to yet fly, but big enough to give their parents a hassle.
The two parents, large Canada Geese with an even larger honk, were on a mission to jump the falls at the Bolsover Lock dam.
That was where they needed to go, to get to better food, better rest, better anything.
But to do so meant taking a leap of faith.
A giant leap of faith.
Through a dam, and down a waterfall that could possibly, surely, crush them to death.
They were, after all, just kids.
With tiny bones, and fluffy feathers, not yet fully greased to withstand heavy water.
Some other families had already taken the leap.
What started out as a grouping of three families, was now only one.
Two of the geese families had braved the potentially deadly plunge and ended up just fine on the other side.
They were now enjoying a grassy lunch on a lower embankment further down the river.
But not this family.
Mother and father goose were just not sure.
They led their little family from one side of the dam to the other.
Surely there was an easier way to join the rest of their friends.
But there was not.
They could not fly. The youngsters were not yet big enough.
They could not walk. There was no way around.
They had to take the plunge.
Metaphorically and physically.
It was excruciating to watch.
To see how they would make their decision.
What, I still wonder, was the final straw?
Then, the entire famiy of five made the careening plunge over the steep concrete wall.
It was almost a 90 degree drop into a foaming froth of water.
I am sure they saw their lives flash before their eyes.
I am sure the goslings were questioning their parents decision.
But they went along with it anyway.
They instinctively, probably, knew their parents had done this giant leap before, and so they knew what they were doing.
After all, they had lived thus far.
I watched as they emerged through the whitewater, totally drenched, shaking their heads feverishly.
They are not, after all, diving birds like loons or cormorants, and so to be completely immersed must have felt terrifying.
First the mother and father emerged.
Then two of the goslings.
But where was the third?
Did he get pummelled by the falls and submerged to his death?
Was he the sacrificial lamb, so to speak, for the family?
For the greater good of the many and all that?
I held my breath.
It seemed like minutes.
Then he appeared through the foaming mass.
He had either waited until the very last minute to take the plunge, or had been submerged for longer than he had expected.
He seemed completely waterlogged, soaked through to his little fluffy feathers, and was shaking himself violently to get dry.
The little family stopped and regrouped where the waters calmed a bit, and then headed away down the river to where the rest of their friends waited.
I couldn’t help but cheer, and another couple who were watching also were amazed at what they had just witnessed unfold.
We couldn’t help but share it with each other.
And I am reminded of what overthinking can do.
It can sometimes paralyze us with fear.
To the point that we decide not to do anything.
But if anything, this little family of geese and goslings showed us all that day that taking the plunge can work out alright.
That we don’t always end up crushed by water, or churned to death by the falls.
We can indeed survive, with a great story to tell.
If we just jump.