I have pet geese. You’ll never know how wonderful, smart, funny and companionable a goose can be unless and until you get to know one for yourself. It’s important, for the full appreciation of the story I’m about to tell, to realize two things about domestic geese:
- They are very social. And I don’t mean just with other geese. They are social with people. If they’ve been raised in a fairly friendly relationship with a person, they will run to you when you step outside, they will chat amiably with you when you sit down and talk with them, or when you put them to bed.
- Domestic geese cannot fly. They have great and glorious wings, which they flap mightily when they run, but rarely will they leave the ground more than a few inches for more than three or four seconds.
So – on to my story.
One evening, during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I went to my yoga class at my local fitness center. I came out into the night and looked up at a gorgeous full moon in a clear, cold sky. As I started to leave the parking lot, I noticed two birds near the front entrance of the fitness center, standing in the roadway. They were fairly large, and, from the distance, I decided they must be a couple of seagulls, glowing white under the moonlight.
But something about their body language took my attention. Their “shoulders” were sort of slumped, and one thing a sea gull never does is slump his shoulders. If it was just one seagull, I’d think it was not well, but two? No, that’s too strange.
I whipped my car around and drove up to the birds, who stood, forlorn and clearly confused, in the road.
They were a pair of domestic African Grey geese – the very same sort of geese I have! Standing in the parking lot of the fitness center, at the edge of a shopping area, with no reasonable place for them to have come from for miles. I parked my car, got out and walked up to them.
Now, here’s the deal with domestic geese. If you sit quietly, they will come up to you to chat. But if you pursue them, they run. The two geese evaded me, but without conviction. When I stopped and just talked to them, they stopped. By bits and starts, I finally got ahold of one of them. Although she appeared fairly large and was fully fledged, when I picked her up she weighed about half what I expected, and I could tell then that she was quite young – barely a teenager in goose terms.
The challenge now – how to get the other goose with one under my arm?
End of Part One
Stay tuned for more goose adventures.