Lone Goose, For Now

For the past few days, Wayne, the male goose has been showing up alone in the pasture.  Today he was hanging out with our sheep Izzy.  Neither of the geese are bothered by the sheep or donkeys.

I’m assuming that Ruth, the female Canada Goose, of the couple that nests at the farm every year,  is either sitting one her eggs or they have hatched and she with the chicks.  I remember last year when I first saw the lone goose in the pasture and wondered what his story was, till I saw both geese and their chicks a week or so later.

So now I’ll just watch and wait for the chicks to appear….

The Lone Goose

Biddy and the Goose

The goose was walking around the pasture as if it belonged there.  The sheep and donkeys seem to accept her.  Red and Fate acted as if she wasn’t there.

The first time I saw her I thought  of how you never see a goose alone this time of year.  I thought of how Canada Geese mate for life.

I remembered the pair of geese and the babies that we’d see marching around the pasture last spring.

How sad I thought, her mate must have died.  Now she’s come  back to the same place to make a nest and raise her chicks, but her mate isn’t here.   I watched feeling sadder and sadder as she seemed to be searching the pasture for her mate.

The next day the goose was in the small pond in the back pasture.

Am I that much of a romantic I wondered, or was I being a realist?

Why did I immediately embrace the story that was the saddest, the most dramatic.  The poor goose pining away for her lost lover.

I watched the goose circle the pond.  I had no idea if is was a male or female.  I actually know little about Canada Geese other than what I’ve witnessed and that someone once told me they mate for life.  For all I know that may not even be true.

So if I’m going to make up a story about this goose, why not make up a happy story.

Maybe this is a male goose and it’s mate is sitting on her eggs, her nest hidden somewhere in the marsh, and he’s patrolling the area, protecting them.

This morning, when I went out to feed the animals, the goose was sitting under the apple tree.

Yesterday’s story no longer made sense.  Why would the goose be so far away from the wetlands if he was protecting the nest.

So, I made up another story.

What if the goose’s mate had died and she was alone. Maybe she came back to the place they had raised their chicks, because that’s what geese do.  And maybe she missed her mate, but had found that she didn’t mind being alone.  She actually enjoyed it.  She didn’t really want to have more chicks and she liked to be able to contemplate nature this time of year.  She liked swimming around the pond and getting to know, at a distance,  the sheep and donkeys.  At the end of summer she joined the flock, once again, and flew south for the winter.

I thought about reading up on Canada Geese and trying to learn the truth about them.  But I don’t want to do that, not yet.  I kind of like the story I’ve come up with. For now, it makes me feel good when I think of the lone goose.

And if that changes, I can always come up with another story.

Either way, it doesn’t  matter to the goose what story I choose to tell myself.  The goose isn’t wandering the moors, under the full moon, longing for her lover.  Or, happy to finally have some time to herself.  Those stories say more about me than they do the goose.

I don’t know what the goose is or isn’t feeling.  I do believe the goose is being a goose. Following his or her instincts and doing what geese do.

 

The Goose Story, Seven Chicks

“….Now I’m thinking about the next part of the story.  The part where one morning, we go out to feed the animals and see not one goose, but the two geese and their chicks.”    From The Goose’s Story

Well, it happened.  This morning Jon and I walked out and saw the  Canada Goose family hanging out in the pasture.  I counted seven chicks.  We didn’t get too close, not wanting to scare them away.  Mom and dad protectively, bookended the chicks, as they pecked around, learning how to do what they do.

We closed off the pasture yesterday so they won’t be bothered by the sheep and Donkeys.   I hope we get to see them as they grow.

Next year, when I see that lone goose in the pasture, I’ll know that his mate is sitting on the nest somewhere close by and soon there will be chicks to keep them both company.

The Goose’s Story

Earlier this morning, the goose was alone,  in the flooded grasses in our pasture.

Both geese were together in the pasture.

As soon as they saw me and Fate, one of them, probably the male from what I’ve read,  lifted his wings and started hissing.

I walked past him, giving him space.  But Fate didn’t know what to do.  She froze as he confronted her, extending his neck and and puffing himself up, and hissing even more.

I called Fate and she came running, relieved, I think, to get away from the goose.

He followed us as we walked away, still hissing, in a low crouch and his neck straight out, horizontal to his body.

I smiled.

Was this the second or third story I made up about the goose.  I doesn’t really matter, because it’s the true story, the goose’s story.

All this time when I thought he was alone, he was really keeping and eye out and protecting his mate and the nest that is somewhere, well concealed, and close by.

Now I’m thinking about the next part of the story.  The part where one morning, we go out to feed the animals and see not one goose, but the two geese and their chicks.

Bedlam Farm’s Spring Residents

I have no doubt the animals know it’s the Vernal Equinox, even if not by that name and in the way we do.

To welcome in the Spring our resident Canada Geese are back at Bedlam Farm.  With the spring melt, the water is high in the marsh behind the farm and the birds are taking advantage of it.  The mallards couple comes and goes, but this goose couple has made its nest here for the past three years at least.

Last year I wrote about the lone goose I saw, thinking that maybe it had lost its mate.  Then the female and chicks appeared.

And now they’re back to do it again.

They didn’t seem bothered enough by me to fly away.  And they seem to know that Fate isn’t interested in them.  I like to think we’re getting to know and trust each other.

I don’t know exactly where they make their nest, but I’ll keep an eye out for them this year, now that I know they’re our seasonal residents.

Getting To Know Our Canada Geese

So well camouflaged, I spotted our Canada Goose couple in the pasture this morning.  Last night I watched them as they circled the farm before landing for the night.

I know that in many places Canada Geese are seen as a nuisance.  But even when I lived on Long Island, where they crowded golf courses and nested on the sides of parkways, I loved to hear them as they flew overhead, a sound of the wild in that man-made world.

In High School, I used to lunch with them.

The school bordered a park and I would take my lunch  to one of the park benches, preferring to be alone outside, to eating in the cafeteria.  I’d throw them pieces of my cheese sandwich and they learned to come when they saw me.

We get lots of geese flying over the farm.  There’s a lake to the north of us and marsh and a cornfield they spend the night in to the south.   But this couple is the only one that nests on the farm.

Canada Geese are so ubiquitous, I never though about them much, other than enjoying seeing and hearing them.  But having this couple nesting on the farm makes me want to learn more about them.

 

Atomic Waste

bird

I was shaking the bed with my sobs.  It was the kind of crying where I  need lots of tissues to soak up the tears and snot or it will just gush down my face.   The birds were just starting to sing, the sky getting light.  It was 4 a.m. and  I just finished reading The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J Church.

It’s the story of my life.  Not in detail (although somehow, strangely, sometimes in exact detail  “at some point Alden said he was done having sex, as if he were above it all”…”I wanted to be wanted. Desired“) but in essence.

I was crying for the wasted part of my life.

The novel takes place in my mother’s generation.   I grew up in the early 70’s, yet somehow with all the changes that  took place between World War II and the Vietnam War, I still lived the life of someone caught in the social confines of my mother’s world.

Like so many women before me,  I  lost my identity, giving up what I wanted for my life, to accommodate what my ex-husband wanted for himself and of me.   I remember being acutely aware that I didn’t want to live my mother’s life.

And I did so many things to avoid what I saw as a trap, including not having children.

But it wasn’t until I was in my forties, that I was able to see that even thought my life looked very different from the outside, on the inside, it was scarily similar to my mothers. Lonely and unfulfilled for so many years,  I finally woke up and was able to find and realize the love and work that I craved.

The Atomic Weight of Love tells the story of Meridian Wallace, who gives up her passion to be an ornithologist  to follow her husband to Los Alamos, where he helps develop the Atomic Bomb.  By the end of the book, her potential never fulfilled, she starts a mentoring program called Wingspan for girls.  To help them do what she was never able to.

If this is how my life ends, I thought, mine would be a worthwhile life.

I straddled Jon’s sleeping body to get more tissues from his night table.  I blew my nose again and through his sleep he mumbled,  “I have my own goose.”

(Growing up in the suburbs Canada Geese were the only obvious wildlife to mark the change of seasons.  They would nest in the small strips of grass on the sides of the highways, and I would slow down to watch their dinosaur-like babies in the spring.  Then I’d feel the loneliness of their honking as they flew south in the fall.)

Skin on skin, I honked away and told Jon if I didn’t blow my nose we would both drown in my snot and tears.

Then he woke up and asked why I was crying.

I don’t have the money that Meridian did to start her Wingspan program,  but in its way that’s what the The Bedlam Farm Open Houses are about.  What my work is about.   Encouraging people to discover and live their creative passion.  Whatever it may be.

How did this book so precisely  capture my life to be able to reach deep inside of me and bring up the pain of a loss I thought I had come to terms with?  I’m so aware of being grateful the for the life I have now, I sometimes actually believe that the past is  behind me.

A wad of tissues in my hand, I rolled off of Jon onto my side of the bed.  I’m so dry, I said, at least I won’t get struck by lightning.  Then I nestled my head into Jon’s shoulder and wrapped my arm around him.

I’ll never sleep again I thought, there’s too much to do and I don’t want to waste anymore time.

 

 

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