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Life According to a Yearling Goose

Updated on December 8, 2012

In the Beginning

One eye barely opens as the sun rises, not yet quite on the horizon, but close enough to awaken life as I know it. It takes just a moment to focus and plan the day. Today is the day. I feel the gentle breath from my nest mate nearby and feel the body beside me rising and falling, still in sweet slumber. There will be an awakening soon. As I stretch and stand, looking forward to a new day, I manage a quick drink of the rain that has collected on the leaves nearby. That is enough for now. When I have a full belly later, it will be time for more. The Lady that came two sunrises ago brought things for us that we never had before. I tried it first: it tasted different and it was good. There is still more at the pond.

Coming out of the culvert where it is safe at night, the sun shows her face full view, reminding me of the first time that I saw it. It kept me from shivering, like when Mother was there for me and my nestllings. We all went our separate ways, but Mother and Father are still here, helping me to prepare for this today. It reminds me when I was small and still learning the important things. Mother said that it was most important to keep away from the Ones in the Buildings, except the Lady that comes. Mother knew another that the Lady took care of, and she was good, not like the Ones in the Buildings.

My nest mate is awake now, making the early sounds. As I return to the resting place, we both know that today is the day. The Others are outside now, and it seems like everyone knows. Father is giving instructions: he is the oldest and wisest, so he is the First. Mother is next to him and she is the Second. Everyone is calling out and as we hurry over, we all take turns in the calling. There are many of us.

The Big Day

We fly over the pond where I was born, following and listening to Mother and Father. Today is the day where some of us will see different things, like me and many of the Others. We are going higher than ever before, and Father tells us not to be afraid, because we have to do this today, but we will come back again to see the Lady, but not for a while. She will wait for us.

Now we are higher than ever before and the sun is in front of us. Father tells us that we have to go by the place with the long spike on top of it, and then head for the water. If we don't remember anything else, go by the water.

Maiden Voyage

We are still going higher, and Mother and Father are now calling to each other periodically. Some of the Old Ones that have gone before are calling to each other, too. Everyone knows the way except for those of us that are still learning. It is getting warmer and the sun has moved a little, but we are still going the same way. The water is blue-green and rippling a little in the wind. It looks so inviting and peaceful, but we can't stop for a long time: Father says that we will fly until the sun is almost gone. Then we will also eat, drink, and sleep.

The trees look so pretty, so many colors and some of the leaves keep dropping off, gently falling to the ground, like I used to do when mother would take us to fly in the beginning. I would giggle and Mother would show me again and coax me back up once more. I learned more and did better every day, and can fly as well as Mother now.

The Buildings seem so much smaller now, and the Ones in the Buildings are even tinier. They can't fly, but they have things that move them around faster. Mother said to never get near those things, because she knew Others that are gone now that were taken away by them. The Lady has Others in the ground where she stays, and every time she put one in the ground her eyes were leaking water. Father says that the Lady is the only one that we can go with, because the Lady is almost like the Others.

The sun on my back feels better than ever before. It is strong, yet it is not too hot to be doing all this flying. My wings have a strength that I never thought about before, for with every beat, I find myself traveling ever further. My place is close to Mother and Father, but I have seen that the Littlest One in the back doesn't need to flap the wings nearly as much as we do. The Littlest One is not as strong as the rest of us.

There are groups of Others coming from different directions now. Mother says that they will join us, because we are the Big Group that all Others go with. Mother has done this a lot and knows all these great things.

There are lots of things up here, even to eat! Sometimes they just fly inside your bill and other times you must reach for them. There are groups of different Others, who make new sounds that I've never heard and even look different. They all stay in the same group, too.

Dangers and Pitfalls for Geese

Then there are the real big shiny things that fly even higher and faster than we do. Father says not to go near them, either. They have the Ones in Buildings inside their bellies and are even worse.

There are loud noises ahead of us, and Mother says that Father will listen hard to keep away from those sounds. Never forget those sounds and always keep away from them. Those are the noises from the Ones in Buildings out in the woods. When you fly by those sounds, you will fall down and never come back again. Then the Lady's eyes will leak water again.

Our Rhythm

We have picked up a rhythm, our cadence. I have never flown this long before and am feeling good about it. With every flap of my wings and the voices of the Others around and behind me, I obtain more power in every wingbeat. It now seems to be a matter of the utmost speed and the greatest power. The Little One in the back only flaps occasionally, with no difficulty in keeping up with us. The further we go, the more I want to do, almost like a hunger within. I can see for eternity and notice everything that I see, from the water's edge to more of God's creatures, even bugs and wisps of leaves and growing things as they float through the air.

"It will be like closing your eyes and listening to a remarkable cacophony of warblers speaking to their own species intermingled with the sounds of those that intrude: the rise and fall, crescendo and acapella placed at just the right intervals. Just when you feel that the crescendo has broken, another wave will enter that secret pond that only you have discovered and whisk you away again for yet another even more bountiful snatch of beauty. After you draw in your breath and look again, the first leaf will fall and hit the ground just before the dew turns to frost and takes that lone leaf with it. Ah, yes, you must be there to drink of that particular beauty, where only your home will provide that pleasing twitch to the senses. Now, just imagine all that AND the birds, too. Time will tell, my friend, time will tell..."

True Dedication

The Last Word

While in the air, your mind wanders to whatever beautiful thing happens to be passing by at the time. It is remarkable how the mind can work, and how specific talents can come to fruition. It still amazes me how I can fly and how the Ones in Buildings need help to do this. Now that I think about it, it is incredulous to me that they are still alive and still holding on to values that cause them to harm one another on a daily basis and have no regard for those of us that try to live in peace and harmony, without weapons.

When will it all end? Will we be the ones to inherit the earth? We started off with the earth, the intruders came, and look at where we are now...just think about it the next time you are up here with me. Please.


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    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, iloveyoujenny. After having worked with many geese over 4 years as a volunteer rehabber, as well as through a major oil spill, I learned these animals rather well. I still see geese daily.

    • iloveyoujenny profile image


      6 years ago from Illinois

      This was marvelous! I don't use that word often ;) I've never seen a story from the point of view that the goose holds. Very beautiful story and I like how you used terms like "others' and "the ones who live in buildings", I could see geese thinking that about us and other species. Keep up the amazing writes and well deserving of a vote up!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Ann. I knew these birds well, having worked the Athos I oil spill of '04 in the Delaware River. I washed oil covered geese, then tended to their needs for several months. By the time I was done, we understood each other. Now, I have Goose Island to observe in OK.

    • anndavis25 profile image


      6 years ago from Clearwater, Fl.

      Written from a goose's point of view. Neat! Well written and charmingly put together, including the video.

      Great! Ann Davis

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Connie, it was fun to write. At the time I wrote it, I was still a volunteer at Tri-State Bird Rescue in DE. It was right around migration, so having worked with 161 Canada Geese after the Athos I oil spill, I knew enough about their ways and habits to write about migration from the point of view of a goose.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 

      6 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      A beautiful story with such a creative slant. I loved it! If we could all just soar like the birds, literally and spiritually, and mentally--what a great world that would be. I pushed many buttons,and shared many ways! Thanks for a very touching and uplifting story.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Gamby, thanks so much! I thought it would be interesting to write from that perspective, as not many people have been privy to a migration.

    • gamby79 profile image


      6 years ago

      Truly loved this story Deb. Especially like that it was told from the yearling's perspective. Great one! Keep them coming!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Nell! I had been worrying a poor Great Blue Heron for days taking various photos of him. He flew off and landed in a part of Boomer Lake Park where some Canada Geese were. The male rushed him, and he had to fly away AGAIN.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi, what a lovely story! and so true about the fact that birds were here first, and will be here when people are no longer around. I remember writing a similar story, only on paper, years ago. The reason was that I saw a huge crow attack a small bird and kill it just outside my window, and I was so upset it made me write something about being the birds in the tree, loved this! voted up!


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