Ann Keiffer

Slaphappy Parade

 Geese don’t feed their nestlings,
I recently learned. The babies literally
fall out of the nests, pretty much en masse.
(and perhaps en mess)
The parents’ mission is to herd the goslings
as fast as they can to water—
where the food is.

Today must have been
Goslings Fall Out of the Nest Day.
This morning as I walked by the
golf course, I spotted a slaphappy parade!
Lotsa-lotsa baby geese, a hundred,
maybe more, all yellow-gray down,
and tripsy on their out-sized feet,
doing pratfalls, tumbles,
and toddler-toddles,
as their elders herded them
across the green expanse
of the driving-range toward
the breeze-rippled pond where
our local geese gather and eat.

The adults seemed to know
exactly which goslings were
in their charge, prodding these,
but not those,
nipping at and chasing little strangers
who wandered in to mingle by mistake.

But when the troupe got closer
to the pond a whole frothing
gaggle of goslings ended up corralled
around one adult who looked to me
like it was trying to do a head count.

The adult, lacking a finger, stretched
its neck and thrust its head out
repeatedly, as if pointing with its bill
toward the cloud of fluffy-stuff milling
about at its feet. I imagined I could almost
hear the tally as the goose called out the
count each time it thrust out its head:
1 gosling, 2 gosling, 3 gosling…4, stand
still!…5!…you over there, pipe down!…6!
All the while the mass of goslings churned,
hopped, and flopped and floundered,
their non-stop, pipsqueak-honk pestering
surely translating to something like,
“Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’

Finally the adult looked like it just
threw its wings up in frustration,
and waddled off at goose-speed
toward the pond,
leaving the count at a nice round

Photo Credit: Eric Begin CC on Flickr


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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