Tag Archive: geese

Goosing Along

On the way to work the other day on a back country road. No other cars in sight when I spotted a Canadian Goose by the side of the road peering out from the bushes. I slowed down and he/she stepped briskly into the road. I stopped, put my blinkers on and watched in amusement and awe as the first goose was followed by about 20 others including both adults and babies. All perfectly in line, one after another, marching across the road. Every few babies there would be a protective adult making sure everything was safe and secure. I kept glancing into my mirrors to make sure we were all alone but no cars appeared on the horizon and the parade continued at a steady pace. Finally the last baby,still down-fuzzy and a bit unsteady on its feet, popped out between the bushes onto the road. It was immediately followed by the last adult, clearly urging it along, with wings outstretched. I waited until the road was clear of geese. Another car appeared in the distance and I turned off my blinkers and continued on my own journey. Once again struck by the remarkable parenting displayed by a creature seemingly so commonplace yet clearly so committed to shepherding its babies safely through a treacherous youth. The adults quite willing to get in between their young and my car, to protect their fragile charges.

Anthropomorphic thinking? Maybe. But to my eyes there is something more at play here. After all, geese commit to lifelong partnerships and are known to mourn the loss of a mate. So perhaps their commitment to their young, at least at this stage, is about much more than simply a biological need to protect their genetic legacy.


It started snowing earlier than predicted yesterday. Whopping big flakes, any one of which looked capable of taking down a moose. The temperature plummeted and with perfect timing we went to switch on the heat and… no heat, nada. I feel guilty writing that as I know millions are still without power. We were very fortunate and ┬álost it only briefly. Plus we have a wood stove for heat. In advance of the storm, I wheelbarrowed up a few loads of last year’s wood from the barn and piled it (well, dumped it really) in the garage.

A shopping trip was postponed as the weather and roads worsened and we settled in for a peaceful snow day. With the fire finally lit, no mean feat without kindling, and a chicken stew simmering in the crock pot, it was an ideal day for reading, resting, a game of scrabble and good conversation.

This morning kitted out with parka, gloves and warm knitted hat, I ventured into the backyard. The dogs and I crunched through the glazed snow and slowly walked the fence line. This was not powder so spotting tracks was not easy — for me at least. The only definitive evidence I found of an overnight visitor to ┬áthe yard was a solitary set of deer tracks on a direct line from one side of the property to the other. Probably heading for the apple tree next door.

Overhead a line of geese was headed somewhere, the rising sun reflecting off their plumage. To my eyes they seemed a bit off kilter and out of sorts. I imagined a lot of bitching going on up there about whose great idea it was to put off heading south for an extra week or two.

The sound of geese on the wing, especially in the early days of migration when I have not heard it for a while, tugs at my urge to be on the move. I never thought I would end up so close to the town I grew up in. I’ve lived in different places throughout my life and spent most of my time with one foot out the door. I always felt like I was on my way somewhere else. Maybe it was not so much on my way somewhere else but rather on my way to be someone else.

I am peaceful here and there has been a lot of healing and growth. I feel safe, cared for, loved…yet when the geese call I feel a yearning…for what I am not sure.