I take great pleasure in the things of nature these days. One thing I will truly miss when we move on to our next house is the pond that resides out my back door. It was there many years before we came to this neighborhood and it will be there many years after we leave I'm sure. This pond has been a great source of enjoyment while we've lived here. First of all, it's beautiful. There's nothing quite like a body of water to produce calm and tranquility. Depending on the morning or evening light, the reflections are stunning. With a small breeze, the water ripples and with stillness it's smooth as glass. Secondly, it provides a great walking track, not only in front of it but around it if you dare to venture to the other side. And, thirdly, we've enjoyed the pond because of the great "nature watching" it provides. My husband and our little Preston spend endless photo-worthy moments in front of the pond when she is here, feeding the Canada geese who make their home here at least part of the year, and they also enjoy feeding the rather large catfishes that inhabit the pond as well. I love catfish, but only after they have been caught by another, cleaned by another, and cooked by another (also, please do filet!). I do not enjoy looking at something alive or half-dead or all-dead before it becomes my dinner. I guess if I ever had to raise my own meat, I would become a vegetarian. I have no problem pulling a root out of the ground and eating it. But anything with eyes, no thank you. But the catfishes in our pond are an angler's dream -- if you like to fish for catfish. We've also recently enjoyed a blue heron in the evening when the sun is low in the sky. What a beautiful bird. But he will take flight if he even feels you looking his way. Then there are the geese. We have a community of about 10-12 geese right now who waddle in and out of the water, leaving behind their organic matter as they go. There is endless open land in our community for them to do this thing of necessity, but they really enjoy my driveway for some reason. They are loud and boisterous on occasion and they truly believe they own the alley between the pond and our driveway. Many times I have patiently waited for them as they cross. I guess it's the least I can do. After all, they are innocent creatures. Or are they? Hmm...
But just as I take pleasure in these gifts of nature, I am saddened when I feel one of God's creatures is being mistreated, neglected, or just by some freak occurence, lacks something they need to live. Don't even let the TV commercial come on the screen about the dogs and cats begging viewers to support them with their monthly gift. They show sad little puppy faces and adorable little kitty eyes, and older animals on their last leg with their ribs showing. I simply cannot take that commercial and will change the channel every time it comes on. It's a good cause, but my heart just can't take it! We've had stray dogs come around looking for a meal and more recently, stray horses (remember that post?). So the geese. Did I mention we have geese? I stopped recently to allow our geese family to cross the road, and I patiently watched as one by one they entered the road, crossed the small patch of grass (really, weeds) and plunked into the pond. There was a straggler at the end of the group and he (or she) hesitated as he let the others cross ahead of him, and then he waited for a minute. Me, being the kind-hearted nature watcher that I am, waited as well, giving him time. When he began to hobble across the road, I realized he was injured. Poor thing. Finally, he pushed off and took flight across the road at about two feet above the ground. He landed close to the water's edge and dropped in behind the others.
A couple of days later, I backed out of my drive to run an errand. The family had been having their "time" if you know what I mean in my driveway, and I noticed the crippled goose a bit farther back, once again separated from the crowd. My car startled them and they headed for the pond. The lame one held back. Is he being bullied because he is handicapped or are the other geese just tired of waiting for him? I don't know but once again I thought to myself poor thing, must have a boo-boo on his whittle webbed foot. I ran my errand and, upon returning to the drive approximately 30 minutes later, he was still on the side and hadn't made it into the pond with the rest. As I inspected the little guy and looked a bit closer, I saw the problem. He was missing a foot! What? I looked closer and it was true, one of his feet was actually missing. I pondered this, as to how it might've happened. Did he get it trapped in something and it cut off his foot? Did a snake bite him and it rotted off? Did a car lop it off when he got too close? Could he have been born that way? I will never know, but my heart was touched as he once again pushed off with the one foot, taking a short flight and joining the others in the pond.
This quirk of nature got me to thinking about how resilient not only people are, but animals as well. The will to survive is a strong force of nature and one that we have seen time and time again, fueling people to overcome seemingly insurmountable circumstances. Perhaps this goose lost his foot in another place far away, a prior home, or maybe it was here, I don't know. But, even though it does tend to slow him down a bit, he plugs ahead, following the other geese and trying to keep up, using his wings to compensate for the lack of a foot. If I was a bird, I think one less foot would definitely be better than one less wing. After all, it takes two wings to fly, and a bird who cannot fly is doomed. But it sill makes me sad to see that he is incomplete. I hope he has mastered the art of landing with one foot. I wish him well. I hope life will not be too terribly hard on him, and that the other geese will give him a break. Press on, little goose, press on.
Come to think of it, we have another lame duck in our neighborhood. Well, it's actually a dog with three legs. Poor thing, somehow he lost an ambulatory limb as well. But one of our neighbors has kindly taken him in and now our community is a haven for two animals missing feet.
I guess we're just nature-lovin' folk in this community. Not such a bad claim to fame I reckon.
Posted by CC
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