Friday, May 15, 2009

Nature Girl -- moi

Poet Mary Oliver, whose work I enjoy very, very much, wrote in her poem "Summer Day", "I don't know exactly what praying is/ but I know how to pay attention". I have not had a great deal of opportunity to pay attention to wild life in the last good many years. But I discovered something today about the Canadian goose that could well be my alarm clock because it seems to arrive on the lawn outside my window about 5:00 in the morning, honking loudly as he lands. I thought a bit about where he spends the night and decided it must be on one of the nearby ponds. Being on or very near water is probably a goose's best defense against predators such as dogs or foxes. I doubt there are any foxes around. And all the dogs seem to be owned and usually leashed, although I suppose any passable size community may have some strays. Be that as it may, the goose's instinct probably tells it to spend a night afloat or close enough to escape if need be -- and of course he can fly.

I'm becoming fond of Sir Goose, who had two companions later in the day. But the fact I noticed to my surprise as I was watching him while I was at my sewing table, is that when he is standing in the grass and for whatever goosey reason decides to honk for a while, every time he honks, his tail wags up and down. It really does, I watched quite a while. Later when he took off into the air, honking -- for he seems not to take off or land without honking -- so far as I could tell in what was then the early evening mist or fog that dropped like a veil from the low sky, his tail did not wag as he soared noisily upward. Those are my avian notes for the day.

No, I don't plan to become a birder. However I was gratified that Harriet at Overseas Adventure Travels had solicited notes from travelers for her newsletter and published the letter I wrote her. I said, in summary, that my African adventures was greatly enhanced by having a roommate who was a birder and who became excited about seeing several kinds of storks, as just one example of the many birds she introduced me to because of her love for all the winged creatures of central Africa. One of my favorites was the Egyptian goose, of which there were many. As I think I've written I felt a particular thrill that they looked exactly like the ones on a papyrus copy of a tomb painting from nearly four millennia ago. Let's hear a happy hurrah for the good old goose.

1 comment:

Anne said...

Birds are probably the one form of wildlife that we see the most of, they can afford to reveal themselves to us because they have the means of a fast get-away if we turn out to be dangerous. And there are so many more species of birds in any one place than other animals, with the exception of insects of course. But birds are more interesting and less irritating to us than insects ;-)

Then of course there are all the folks who hate the Canada Goose. Oh well, too bad for them!

Interesting about the tail wag, talk about body language!