The Canadian Goose: A Love Story
I think it's funny and incredibly egotistical the way we determine another being's worth basically by how similar they are to us. Even individually it's always so important that we find out what we have in common with one another. Were that not the case these dating sites wouldn't know what the hell to do with themselves. Which brings me to my topic. Monogamy.
Monogamous and a little messy
Research suggests that like people, a goose may or may not find a new mate when it loses its life partner. Like a rare handful of humans, geese mate for life, remaining devoted to their goose love as long as they live. And indeed they mourn the passing of their mates and often stop associating with their flock for a period, or even forever. The good news is they all do have a flock to rejoin should they decide they want to.
The Canadian goose is more monogamous than your average golfer, so it really poaches my eggs when these old guys get their Depends all bunched up because the geese are mucking up their golf courses with their poo. They want to round them up and exterminate them. Beware of karma, golfers, because she can be a bitch. If you suddenly lose control of your bowels would you like to suffer the same fate? Say you're on the back 9 and you get that rumble and sweat and then all hell breaks loose in your khakis, should we consider you a nuisance? I think so. I say any golfer worth his salt should be able to navigate some goose poo. I say if you are going to take up a massive swath of land and pump water onto it the least you can do is share it with the geese. Of course this article does not take into consideration kind golfers, and I've known several, but sweeping generalizations make for more exciting reading, so at risk of seeming narrow-minded, I shall leave that bit in.
Then Pain of Loss
There is a goose that hangs out on the street near my place of work. He's not there because he has a robust affinity for office parks. The draw of the manmade ponds and relative safety from predators aside, the geese tend to come and go. A few make their nests there and it's fascinating to watch the females sit on their eggs while the males hang close by, doing male things like honking and picking fights with other geese. But this aforementioned goose stays. He lingers near the road, alone, picking at the grass or staring out at who-knows-what, his elegant neck extended, where a few months ago I saw a goose on the side of the road. It looked like it was at rest, it's head tucked alongside its body, but it didn't move and lay there the entire day, undoubtedly the victim of an automobile taking the turn too fast. My heart broke when I saw it. After seeing this lone goose near the scene of the accident I can only assume it chooses to stay there, alone, mourning the death of his partner (whether the goose is male or female is a mystery to me). It never strays far and sometimes I think it has moved on, then I see it, a little further back in a parking lot or behind a stand of trees. My heart breaks every time I glimpse the lonely bird.
The Canada goose inspires loathing in some and admiration and respect in others. They will defend themselves, their loved ones and particularly their eggs and young ferociously. This is behavior admired in humans but somehow worthy of disdain when it applies to the non-human animal kingdom, where we prefer beings to be docile and easygoing or out of sight. We would like our fellow animals to be cute and clean and never aggressive, and please deposit your waste in a place more convenient for us, like Canada perhaps. We'll take down your natural habitat with impunity and complain that you're hanging around and having the audacity to treat us with mistrust. Can't you be more polite?
"He's your lobster..."
Black buzzards, French angelfish, and wolves are just a few of our animal brethren who mate for life. Swans and gibbons as well. All different shapes and sizes. Like us, some of them are gay, some of them are straight and I must assume some of them are everything in between.
Black buzzards, who so many think are nothing but hideous carrion eaters, may have this very conversation:
Female buzzard to male life partner, "You've got a little something, " as she gestures toward the corner of his long, black beak. He wipes a little coagulated blood onto the grass beside a long dead carcass they've been snacking upon.
"Thanks," replies the big male bird.
So I'll continue to think of my bereft goose friend and the way he reminds me of the universality of the joy of love and the pain of loss. I wish him the best and hope that perhaps someday when he is able to smile at the fond memories of his lost mate, however geese may smile, that he will find a new love. And I will hold out hope that the human animal will be able to feel empathy and kinship with all the inhabitants of the world, even if they poo on golf courses or eat dead things.
Love. Sometimes it ain't pretty, but it's always beautiful. Let's spread a little.