“On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...six geese a-laying, five gold rings – four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.”
In his historical novel, Chesapeake, James A. Michener describes life on the eastern shore of Maryland over the course of many generations. Its main theme is slavery. But as always with Michener, his allusions to nature make his plot more compelling. At one point he notes how families of geese do not break up after the breeding season, raucously protect their young, and form strong units that migrate and winter together until they return to their breeding ground. What is notable is their intricate reliance on wing tip formations in flight (something that cyclists practice in big races).
Geese have been recognized as reflecting the interdependence of creation itself. Consider the six days taken together as described in Genesis 1. Not a single one works without the others – from light-darkness, and water-earth through the creation of humanity in God’s image that the other days make possible. Six days a-laying indeed! Remove one and it’s like an entire act of a Broadway play has dropped out. God never produces a one-act play.