An Injured Goose

What should I do?

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ILLUSTRATIONS BY KERRY CESEN


The Canada geese like our backyard here in eastern North Carolina. When it rains, little lakes form and stay for days. There’s not much grass, but there’re plenty of tasty, juicy weeds. There are a few big trees to provide shade, but still room for takeoffs.

Like us, our neighbor Imogene is an animal lover. She saw a goose that was holding up one leg as though it were wounded and came to us in her distress. She had called the local wildlife rescue group and asked for advice. They had told her they would hold the goose in their facility and treat it. When she (it just looks like a ”she” to me) was well, they’d release her into the wild.

There was only one problem. Imogene wanted us to help catch the goose and hold onto it until the rescue group could send someone to pick it up. OK…how do you catch a goose the size of a German Shepherd? They flap, they honk—and don’t they bite? If you do catch her, how do you hold her until the cavalry arrives? Put her in your garage? Ours is so full of stuff we can’t even get a car in it. Put her on a leash and tie a lead around a tree? I can hear the other animal lovers in the neighborhood complaining now!

What to do?

If you do catch her, how do you hold her until the cavalry arrives?

This morning, I filled the bird feeders and, as is my custom, scattered a little seed along the ground for the ground-feeding birds. These include the geese, who seem to appreciate the buffet. Soon I looked up from my coffee to see the wounded goose nibbling seed in the yard. She would nibble a bit and then hop one-legged to a new spot. Nibble a bit and hop to another spot. That’s when I noticed she was not alone. There was a larger
goose nibbling as well, not six feet away. The larger goose never wandered away. He kept looking to make sure his companion was still there. I watched in fascination as the pair strolled around my yard, enjoying their breakfast together like an old married couple.

Then it dawned on me that that’s exactly what they are—an old married couple! Geese mate for life and really do stay together. Here was a couple that had been together for no telling how long. They were chattering away, maybe discussing their plans for the day. When they had had their fill, they flew off together.

Now you may ask, since the wounded goose was in my yard, why didn’t I call the wildlife rescue group? But if I call the rescue group and they take the wounded goose away, the pair will be separated. Even if they heal the goose, can they reunite the pair? How likely is that?

So no, I just sat quietly and meditated on life. I’ve been married for some time now. Not everything in our marriage has gone according to our expectations. We have had to move several times. We’re not nearly as well off as we would like to be. We have lost loved ones. We have both had serious, life-threatening health problems.

But, like the geese, we are still together.

The way we should be.


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