Two of the geese couples in my neighborhood have had their goslings. When they were nesting, they kept their distance from each other – one on one side of the pond, and the other on the other side. But now that the goslings have hatched, the two families are constantly together.

I’m pretty sure the parents are the same geese who raised their two families together in the pond last year, too. They found each other, raised their babies together, and decided to do it again. Maybe they decided in some goose way that such good and reliable friends are hard to find.

When I was in elementary school, my best friend and I imagined that we would raise our families next door to each other – although in our imaginations, we would be raising our families on houseboats. For all practical purposes, we were imaging lives similar to the ones that the geese have on the pond. We didn’t worry – any more than the geese seem to – whether our future partners would be friends. It just made sense for us to share the work of raising families together. If we get to close to any goose, they raise their wings to warn us to stay away from all of them.

That friend and I didn’t end up on houseboats, or next door to each other, or even driving distance away from each other. I moved to another country before eighth grade, at a time when international phone calls were about eight dollars a minute, and email was not yet a thing. We wrote a lot of letters, but it was not quite the same.

Still. There are still ways in which old friends – including that old friend from elementary school – know the essential things about me. I can’t pretend anything in front of them, because they know.

I’m grateful for old friends, friends who know me so well that it is pointless to pretend. I’m grateful for the truth of those friendships. And I am achingly grateful that the goose families are able to share their lives on the pond and paths.