Friday, May 13, 2016

The geese

I have written about the birds.

I've written about eagles many times, and I've written about turkeys even more. Crows, woodpeckers, owls, ducks, loons, and seagulls have all been well covered here. Assorted songbirds might fly through a post at any time. There goes one now. Did you see that? It was a robin, all chunky with spring feeding. Perhaps being so satiated allows him the free time to go lumbering out of my yard and into my blog post.

Let's just leave him be while he thuds across my my keyboard.

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There's no secret message in his typewriter walking. Robins aren't much into secret messages. Go take a look at a robin. There's bound to be one just out your door or somewhere milling about one of these paragraphs. A guileless bird, don't you think?

But I'm not here to talk about robins. I am not here to talk about the eagles or turkeys. And I am not here to talk about the crows or the woodpeckers or the owls or the ducks or the loons or the seagulls.

I'm here about the geese.

I hardly ever mention the geese. I see them on so many of my walks. Occasionally they fly beautifully in formation over the river. Occasionally I see them swimming the Mississippi down below me. But mostly they are right out on the bike and walking paths, sauntering. Sauntering, eating, and excreting.

I have heard many stories about aggressive geese, how they will chase you down, peck you meanly, and hector you even as you try to flee. And because of all those stories I approach geese with caution. I step gingerly through their strange fields of green and copious poo. I give these large when close birds a wide berth, much as I might a pack of stray dogs, trying to feel no fear and rehearsing in my mind my plan of violent self defense and retribution should I be attacked. Just today on my walk I came upon half a dozen Minneapolitan geese on my path. I treaded gingerly into the wet grass to allow them all their space. I held my breath. 

And then I suddenly realized- these geese are nothing like dogs! For all the thousands of geese I have encountered on walks not a one has barked at me, growled, twittered, or honked. None have taken a single step out of their way towards me. I have never seen a single geese looking cross, perturbed, agitated, or threatened. And perhaps most amazingly I'm not sure I've even ever seen a single geese take the least notice of me. I have never, that i can remember, seen a goose look at me. 

Geese don't hate, fear, or wonder about me. They don't avoid, respect, or disrespect me. 

When it comes right down to it I'm not even sure I exist to geese.

I'm okay with that. I've always somewhere suspected, when I see birds I am looking across worlds, from one universe into another.

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