goosie

Page Forty-six

I’ve written about this friend in two other places. On the blog Extemporaneana in 2008, and on the Mental Hell blog in 2011:

  Go tell aunt Rhodie                                    
  the old grey goose is dead….   from an old folk song

I fear she is dead, the old grey goose who lived in the river these past years along with all of the wild water birds. She moved in from somewhere and became the boss of the ducks, and even of swans. I think she died around two days ago. I saw the beginning of her death, attacks by a Canadian goose trying to usurp Goosie’s position. They do this when they sense the leader is dying. She cried out to us, her human and duck friends, on Friday the 10th, but there was nothing any of us could do. She’s been my friend since 2002. I didn’t want her to die before me. I wanted to go first, and go knowing that she was still there in the river, a domestic barnyard goose, bossing all the ducks around.

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oddballs

From 2002 until she died in 2008, this domestic grey goose in the photo lived wild in the Connecticut River here in turners trolls. She became a bit famous in these parts, but I never found that out until 2004, after having spent two years believing that the only human friends she had were me and a Russian man who used to visit her most days. But no, she had a good number of human fans, and I got to meet some of them. I heard stories about the various times her photo had been in the newspaper, which I don’t read, so I never knew. I even heard a story in 2008 to the effect that she was across the water in the cove with her children — she had had a family. The only geese available for her to mate with were the Canadian kind. Had this mating actually happened, or was it small-town myth? Don’t know. In any case, I was very much in love with this goose, and very much in synch with her status as oddball: the only domestic animal among the wild ducks and geese and swans and cormorants. I’m an oddball myself, what with Asperger’s and several other alienating issues. I know what it’s like to be off-kilter in any group. And Goosie was always off-kilter there in the wild. Not exactly like the other geese, but enough like them that they in fact recognized her as goose-folk, but not really quite one of the clan.

One question that has never been answered: did she simply get tired of the life she had as a domestic animal on someone’s farm, run away, and find herself a new life? Or did the humans who owned her get tired of her and dump her into the river? I suppose I’ll never know that now.

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Those are the elsewheres I wrote about my Goosie. Yes, I can call her mine because I loved her (and still do). I can call her mine because I fed her there at the river in the ice and snow and wind, when none of her warm-weather human friends would come near. She’s mine because when I saw her again after an absence (hers) of eighteen months, I cried for happiness. I remember her with as much love and laughter and emptiness where she used to be as I do for any animal that lived with me in my home.

On my fiftieth birthday when I went out in the dark, frozen morning under a full moon in a mean wind to walk my dogs, Goosie had brought seven swans to our side of the river. It was the first time I’d ever seen the swans come over to our side. I choose to believe that   somehow, animal subliminal communication resulted in the fact that Goosie convinced the swans to come over with her because I was so sad, so forgotten by humans on my half-century day. That she knew how much I would love seeing the swans (and her) on that freezing, white, full-mooned, abandoned day. I can’t, of course, know for certain. But I choose to believe it.

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Published in: on December 4, 2011 at 4:22 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. thanks much for the like, Human.


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