Thursday, April 26, 2012

Giving a Gander

The Park School of Baltimore

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
– Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

He starts his day like any other. Getting up, a bit a grooming then off to work.  But this is no ordinary worker. He is a goose on the pond of my daughter's school.

He is not exactly Father Goose; he has to be male since I see no unfertilized eggs lying around. Not exactly Father Gander either;  I see no Snow-Canadian goose hybrids.

But if you  give him a gander from time to time, you will see that he is a snow goose and he cannot fly.

 No one knows what happened to him but his disability doesn’t impede his stamina nor his “joie de vivre.”  His goose isn't cooked.  He has taken up residence at the school and he has many jobs. Just don’t let him into the front door.  House training is not among his better skills.

He is a surrogate parent to the many migratory Canadian geese  and mallards that mate and make that pond their nursery.  He readily joins in watching the young and guards against any predatory fox or raccoon that may enter the area. As of today, there are six goslings already this year. Gender doesn't seem to matter in regards to his parenting skills. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.  In seasons when there are no young, he happily joins any migratory group, grazing, honking and swimming merrily in the small pond.  We have even seen him cross two streets to get to another pond to meet up with more migratory friends.

When the children are out enjoying a well deserved recess or perhaps canoeing on the pond as an after school activity, he is their unpaid chaperone. He is the alarm if anyone falls into the water.  Don’t cross him!  His very loud honking echoes around that pond and surrounding courtyard louder than a Concorde.

He is a symbol of the power of sociability, determination and generally making the best of the situation.  He has made lemonade of his lemons. What a wonderful lesson.

Maybe someday you will fly again. Hope springs eternal.  In the meantime, I will gladly save some stale bread for you.

You are an inspiration. 

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