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HONK IF YOU'RE A GOOSE

29 September 2002

With all of the biking Cindy and I have done, and my now taking the bike on errands around town, and even to work occasionally, I haven't done the ol' bike path home route from the club in a couple of weeks. For one thing, I take "URL" to the club and it feels so much heavier than The Blue Angel.

But today I decided I'd go back on the bike path and take the long way home. For one thing, we finally seem to be having "fall" weather. The triple digit temps have finally dropped, quickly, down into a high of low to mid 80s, which seems almost cool to me these days. The winds have picked up and there is a cloud cover, so I even put on my warm jacket to bike up to the club (my warm jacket which is now waaaaay too big, I hasten to add!)

I decided to make it a "toodle," as Haggie calls slower rides. I pedal my little legs off trying to keep up with Cindy on our pre-dawn rides and manage to average 12-13 mph, with occasional 15 mph sprints, on a pretty steady basis. I remember when it was a struggle to keep it at 10 mph, so I've improved on that score too.

These days 10 mph is a saunter and today I even allowed myself to go slower to enjoy the scenery.

The first thing I noticed was the smell. I don't know if there had been enthusiastic sprinklers, or heavy fog or perhaps a light drizzle through the night, but the smell of fall rain was in the air. A smell I have not enjoyed since spring morphed into a triple-digit summer. There is something wonderfully fresh about the smell of wet grass combined with wet cement lifted to your nose by a cool breeze as you zip along. (editorial comment: entirely too much purple prose!)

I had been late leaving for the club, so by the time I finished my workout, I was about 15 minutes later than usual when I left and the normally empty bike/foot path was alive with dog walkers. There were poop scoopers, and obedience trainers, and companions out walking their dogs together. There were labs and shepherds and poofy fou-fou dogs. There were working dogs coming back from romping in the ditch and jogging dogs resolutely keeping pace with their owners. There was even a bike-companion dog.

Who knew that 15 minutes could make such a difference in the population of the bike path?

As I passed along the back section of the greenbelt, I was suddenly buzzed by a formation of Canada geese, making a perfect V, flying low overhead and honking loudly. Behind them was another V and behind that yet another V. I actually stopped the bike to watch them pass. It was like watching fighter planes take off from an airstrip. (but they were going north...what kind of stupid geese are these? Aren't they supposed to be headed south?)

Has anyone notice the increase in Canada geese in recent years? (I have been told that "Canadian geese" which most people call them is wrong...their proper name is "Canada geese"...and I certainly wouldn't want to offend any Canadians, would I, Marn?)

I think the first time I became aware of Canada geese was a brilliant PBS special, the name of which I have forgotten (though I'm sure someone will write and remind me). The closing scenes of that special showed the geese flying in slow motion and stands out in my mind still today as one of the most beautiful bits of nature photography I've ever seen.

Then there was, of course, Fly Away Home, the story of a young girl raising a flock of orphaned Canada geese. A real feel-good kinda movie.

The first time I saw Canada geese live, I thought I was witnessing something very special--the geese stopping by on their way south--wherever it is that they go--for the winter.

But it is only in the last five years or so that I began to notice that everywhere you go there are Canada geese. They have taken over all sorts of lakes and lagoons. There are several families of Canada geese in the little pond which I pass on the bike path. There are Canada geese in the lagoon where I have gone to walk from time to time. There are Canada geese all over the lawns in the park in Alameda through which we have ridden bikes on our way to the Naval Air base.

They're beautiful, regal looking birds, but nasty dispositioned things. Our most memorable encounter with Canada geese was in the Boston commons, where they had taken over one section of the park. There were signs everywhere warning you to walk softly because the geese were known to attack without provocation.

But they're still beautiful when they sail overhead in perfect formation...headed in the wrong direction.

Quote of the Day

With 60 staring me in the face, I have developed inflammation of the sentence structure and a definite hardening of the paragraphs.

-James Thurber

Photo of the Day

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This is a Concord, MA Canada goose

 

 

One Year Ago
Remembering the Past
They had a couple of kids, but he did set off a lot of people's gay-dars. He died several years ago. I hardly recognized her when I saw her on stage, only because I was able to look at her name tag. She was there, hand in hand, with a hunk almost young enough to be her son. Good going, JC. Time for a bit of happiness for you.

Two Years Ago
The Raveled Sleeve of Care
when I sleep, I sleep hard and nothing wakes me.... Peggy awoke and reported that my snoring had kept her awake. It may be a long week for her, since from here on we will be sharing a motel room.


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