Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Goose Patrol


For the last six-plus months, I’ve driven a particular road to work. I’d always admired one of the houses for the compact and lovely perennial floral beds. Because of this admiration, I’ve tended to notice several nice things along this road.

My Original Bird Sanctuary
This is where the ducks and geese
would settle in all seasons on Belmont Lake
 near my childhood home.

One of the sights had been a farm house, aged, yet dignified. The outbuildings and barns were somewhat dilapidated, but functional. The house was small as farmhouses go, but traditional in it’s appearance. The most interesting bit about this house was the resident birds.

The front yard, as it were, was owned by a rag-tag flock of geese. There were white ones and mixed colored ones. Most of the time, several of them would be nestled down and napping while a few remained at guard. If they were close to the edge of the road, it was not unusual to be hissed at in warning, “Back off! This is ours!”. I’ve come to think of them as the Goose Patrol. Across the road, the neighbors have a small man-made pond which was the next-favorite spot for the geese to be near. From what I could see, life looked good, for a goose.

I mentioned that there were resident birds. As I was driving home one afternoon, I noticed a very large bird perched on the hood of the car in the driveway. I stopped to get a picture of it, but couldn’t get close enough as the geese, gathered around this other bird as if at worship, darted toward me to chase me away. I was fairly sure that the large bird was a peacock, but couldn’t conceive of any reason a functioning farm would have a solo peacock. Eventually, I was able to get closer look which confirmed my identification. I still haven’t figured out the peacock angle, though.

Late in the spring, the house went up in flames, gutting it. None of the other buildings were damaged. But it was painful to see an old home destroyed, knowing that the mementos of a family’s history went with the structure. It was also discomfiting that a family and business was displaced. It was to be the end of seeing the stalwart Goose Patrol and Adoration Temple.

But, it wasn’t. Over the summer, the geese and their idol, the peacock, stayed put as the house was razed. They went about their business as if the house was still standing and their people were just an open door away. They slept, they nosed through the grasses for nibbles, they guarded their own, they worshipped the peacock, they swam in the pond.

A Twilight Swim
If you look closely, you might see the
Goose Patrol's eyes in the evening light.

I worried almost all summer: what is going to happen to them when the cold weather comes? Are they going to be fed? I doubted that they could fly away as their wings were most likely clipped.  They could’ve run away, I suppose, but, to where and whom? What would they do in the snow and cold? Strangely, they didn’t seem worried. Just me.

This week, a new foundation was started where the old house had been. The owners were rebuilding. They didn’t give up. And, neither did the geese.

The geese must’ve known something was amiss, yet, they couldn’t do anything about it. They had no option but to continue doing what they do. And, it worked out just fine. They’re not abandoned and their people will be back. Life goes on.

In an ideal world (an oxymoron, if ever there was one), staying the course will always bring a happy ending. In our real world, the endings are not always happy. But, I did take a lesson from our friends of the Goose Patrol, and that is:

When things start to go wrong, there isn’t any advantage to panicking. The chaos of the universe is going to do whatever it chooses to do. Control what you can and let the rest go.

(And, here, I have to apologize to Myriah: It took geese to teach me what you've been telling me for years! I'm such a silly...goose!)

With deadlines surrounding us in most avenues of our lives, it’s easy to give in to the panic. The upcoming holiday season only adds to the feelings of being overwhelmed.  Think you know where I’m going with this!

Control what you can and let the rest go! Remember to enjoy the journey along the way! The Goose Patrol did.


  1. Great reminder and post. Love "worshiping the peacock!" The photo is so cool and ghostly.

  2. Great story, Barb! You are such a wonderful storyteller!
    No need and nothing to apologize for, Sweetie! I'm happy the Goose Patrol found such a great way to make the point stick!
    Love and Hugs,

  3. This is your best one yet. I was going to compliment the storytelling, too (well, I AM complimenting it), but Myriah got there first! :o) Joan

  4. Great reminder and thoughts to remember so glad I found your site.

  5. Thank you, everyone! I'm so glad to hear from my "old" friends and some new e-friends!



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