Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Give five minutes to the goose


According to some silly books that I’ve read, the Canada Goose excretes nearly two pounds of feces every day.  A fairly reliable source states that it poops every 12 minutes.  This may all sound very mathematical, because I know you are sitting there calculating how many times per day and how much per release, but really, that’s not what my story is all about.
The street where I live is an add combination of wild and suburbia.  We’ve had our fair share of misplaced critters, and though they seem to be diminishing with development, geese have started setting up camp and becoming our official neighbors.
The Canada Goose as it is called, is a rather pesky bird.  It is interesting to research that after the Civil War, the honking bird was all but gone from the state of Ohio and in 1956, a mere 10 nesting pairs were introduced by the Division of Wildlife.  In just a few decades, they multiplied and multiplied and realized that golf courses and subdivisions were the ultimate slap in the face to anyone who has ever thought, “mmm… goose jerky.”
And now they live on my street, these birds.
But normally, they fly.  They are, indeed, birds.  When it comes to comparing the list of flightless birds to flying birds, flightless birds are few and far between.  The Canada Goose normally flies and honks and poops, even in mid-air because 12 minutes happens quite often.  The goose on my street, however, does not.
I first realized it when my dog was going bonkers and a quick glance out my front window had me looking at a goose walking down the sidewalk in my front yard.  It walked all the way across, and then up and over a hill where it disappeared in the field.
And life went on.
But the very next day, I heard my dog barking and looked out to find the goose walking directly down the middle of the street.  He or she (both genders look pretty much identical) was taking a stroll from the field all the way down to the retention ponds at the other end of the street.  
And so it continued, this goose walking up and down our street from somewhere in the field to somewhere near the pond.  Curiosity was getting the best of me, and one day I could take it no more.  I went goose stalking.  I followed the goose, leaving plenty of space because I’m pretty sure it would peck off my face if not.  I followed it through my yard, over the hill and into the field where I stood for around five minutes watched it nibble on spring plants and waited until it did something spectacular or something.  
But it never really did.  It was just being a Canada goose.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of watching a single animal in the wild, do so.  I waited for something special, and truthfully, I got it.  I got to watch this big bird take a long journey to find something that it wanted, even if it couldn’t fly.  (I still am not sure about that part of this story.)  Watching nature remains something satisfying for one’s soul, a sneak peek that brings us closer to the rest of the world.  
So I encourage you all to give five minutes to the goose.  Or a groundhog, or a squirrel.  Anything really.  Just make sure that if it’s a goose, you only give them five minutes.  If you give them any more, say twelve, well, you might have a different story to tell.

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