Thursday, April 29, 2010

Julie and Julia

It's been at least a year since I wrote anything in Wizened Wizard, although lately there have been several things that I've wanted to write about.  Last night we watched Julie and Julia, and her blogging experience brought back to mind all the fun I'd had creating this blog, the excitement of having a growing number of actual readers, and the enjoyment of "getting to know" some interesting and good people.

Circumstances change.  I don't have the time to be a serious blogger now, so whatever I write will be for myself and with no wish to gain a readership. Pieces won't be in Wizard's voice, but this is the easy and somewhat logical place to post them.  Who knows how much I'll write or how often.

Below are the first two entries "post-Wiz".  Thanks for the memories, Julie!


Spring brings the return of the Canadian Geese. For the past few years we have had a nesting pair on the small beaver pond behind the house. They make their presence known early in the morning with a loud chorus of donkey-sounding honks, the daily announcement of daylight in the swamp and whatever else it is that geese get excited about.

Most pairs have successfully fledged goslings, but not all. One spring, after muttering about being awakened daily by “the pond donkeys”, our sleep was interrupted at about midnight – and then made difficult for the rest of the night – by incessant and frantic honking and splashing. Morning shed light on both would-be parents pacing the shoreline, nervously looking too and fro. Down was floating in all directions, and the nest had been destroyed. It might have been a raccoon, but more likely a mink or an otter who brought about the demise of domesticity.

This year, the beavers long-gone, a pair of geese settled atop what was once a beaver lodge. It has gradually settled down into the pond and now appears to be just another small, ragged island in a swale not sure whether to call itself a pond or a swamp. We watched the female draw up bits of sticks and grasses around herself to prepare the nest, and she has been sitting on eggs for a couple of weeks now. The gander is her guardian, fiercely scaring off any interlopers, the interlopers being other Canadian ganders who are probably dropping by for a little R&R from defending their own nests elsewhere. Ducks and the pond's resident muskrat are accepted as good neighbors.

Last night a freak spring snowstorm brought high winds and buried us under more than a foot of snow. In the morning I leveled the binoculars on the small, white island, finding Mrs. Goose hunkered down on her eggs, her head aloft, her body a dark lump of determined mother-to-be in a cold, white landscape.

By late afternoon the sun was out and the snow had been reduced by about half. I took my camera and headed outdoors, lured by the contrast of green spring growth and white snow. Wandering around the pond, I decided to “shoot” the goose on her nest, and walked through the woods to a point close enough to get a decent picture. To my surprise, she was lying there completely motionless with her head outstretched and her neck in a gentle “S” curve. Playing possum, I thought, but she was so still. I clapped my hands a few times, thinking that if she was simply laying low, she would at least startle and show some sign of life, but she did not. A shrill whistle also failed to evoke a reaction, and the gander was nowhere to be seen. I was mortified. The goose was dead.


Was it the storm? The cold? Had she been deserted by her mate, and if so, had she been unwilling to leave the nest long enough to find some nourishment? Maybe he had been a victim of the storm too. Geese are thought to be “silly”, but this goose had given her life for her yet unborn children, and I was deeply moved and saddened.

Some time later, back at the house, I picked up the binoculars again. To my astonishment, the goose had been resurrected! Still on the nest, she was holding her head high. “I've been goosed!” I exclaimed aloud. She had completely fooled me, as was her intention. Later the gander reappeared, and the lives of these expectant parents went on.

So, who's the silly goose?