28 January 2013 Reflections
Goose Pond is a tranquil place to visit. The migratory “snow birds” love it. My editor in chief discovered it and told me about it. It is a man-made retention pond just down the road, about an acre in size and lined with a winding wooded path around it for walking your dogs or just being alone. Bald cypress trees line the banks. It’s a great place to drink a morning cup of coffee. Just watch your step. Geese are known for two things. One is their graceful flight. You can imagine the other. But if you want to practice shooting birds in flight with a camera, this is the place to do it. Using a handheld method to do this takes practice. I wanted to catch the moment of the graceful landings of these beautiful Canada Geese. The sky was clear and the morning light was great.
The pond is full of Canada Geese, a gaggle of four very large domestic geese (African I think), and assorted ducks of several species. Occasionally I see “fly- bys” of local birds. The domestic geese waddle up and greet me as I get out of the truck. I don't think that they are particularly happy to see me, they are just expecting some bread. Like most geese, the African domestic gander is larger than the goose and has a flap of skin under the chin called a dewlap. With bread in the belly, they loudly honk and then happily waddle away. The African Goose is not from Africa but a variant of the Asiatic domestic goose from Southeast China. According to one source it says “Unofficially, there are two kinds of these domesticated geese: those that hate the world and everything that moves within it, and those which have to be picked up and carried to their shed”. These are clearly closer to the latter. Sitting down on the bank in my folding chair with my thermos of coffee, I begin observing the pond and the movements, waiting to hear that distinct honk of a Canada Goose approaching for landing. For a while all I see are some seagulls swooping in looking for some more bread. But soon I hear a lone goose honk in the distance. It appears over the trees like an airplane on final approach. Much like patterns at an airport, the goose approaches from one direction and turns to land onto the “waterway” into the wind. I focus my lens on it. The goose wobbles a bit as it descends and then stretches out its mighty wings. The approach is steady, there is lots of clear “waterway” on which to land. Flaring its huge brown wings like an airbrake, it gracefully touches down. What follows is a loud chorus of honks as friends greet the arrival and everyone just has to say hello. Not all the landings I see are as graceful. One particular goose has a lot of girth if you know what I mean (the term “Plump as a Goose” comes to mind). This one comes down fast, more like a rock, and narrowly misses another. It lands making a huge splash, soaking all those around it. Good thing those goose feathers are waterproof too.
It is the smooth graceful kind of landings that we strive for in our daily flights of life. No bumps, no surprises, lots of clear runway. We land, and we taxi on to our destinations safe and sound. Hope you have a safe and happy one today. Be blessed. Harry* see my 8 January blog on “Holiday Friends” I met at the Goose Pond