Saturday, January 1, 2011

Of Wild Goose Chases and Wandering Minstrels

Wow, I need to take a course in grammar school science!
Once again, everything changes in a day or two!
But, what is so hard to figure out is why the Central Park Reservoir and Harlem Meer lake practically freeze entirely over when the temperatures in NYC suddenly soar to 45 degrees!
Wasn't "freezing" temperature 32 degrees?
For sure, we had a colder than normal December with temperatures regularly dipping down into the 20's at night.   We had a blizzard last week which dumped 20 inches of snow on New York City and produced wind chills of zero.
But, through all of that, the Reservoir remained fluid and unfrozen.
And yet, suddenly, in the last two days when temperatures finally climbed above freezing -- even at night -- the Reservoir froze over to almost 90%!
Even worse, the pool of open water at Harlem Meer has also shrunk significantly and once again, turned mostly to ice.
One cannot figure it out  -- Unless the blowing, bitter winds of the past month or so ironically helped to prevent the waters from freezing over.      
Snow still remains impacted on the ground, especially on the running path around the Reservoir resulting in almost no runners and few people even attempting walking. 
But, perhaps the biggest surprise (and to me, disappointment) is that once again, the Canada geese have apparently taken off.  
After being so thrilled to see the return of about 60 to 70 migratory geese at Harlem Meer just two nights ago, a trip back the next day found none at all.   The same was true last night:  No geese.
While there may still be some at the Reservoir, most of the geese have seemingly left there too.
I don't know whether the sudden appearance of geese a few days ago, merely represented those on a "rest stop" on their way to some place else. Or, whether the sudden freezing of most of the Reservoir and Harlem Meer simply sent them scurrying south for more open waters and hospitable climate.
Canada geese, after all, are such elusive, independent, proud and mysterious animals. 
Just when you think they have planted themselves to "stay" for a while, they suddenly take off again without so much of a farewell or tip of the beak.
They remind one of wandering minstrels or hard-to-pin-down lovers.
The mallards are a little more predictable.  Seemingly, a little more dependent upon humans for food or treats, the mallards will stay where the food is.  Sure, they sometimes disappear for a few hours or even a couple of days, but they always come back. 
Not so, with Canada geese.  They come and go according to their biological clocks or the wander lust and callings of their chosen leaders.   If the geese in charge say, "Let's go," they all go.   They don't leave explanations or calling cards.
All of these observations (over a couple of years) leave one even more bewildered on why we humans have so targeted Canada geese for "eradication" when they don't even stay in any one place for a significant period of time.
Sure, when large flocks of them suddenly show up on a property, it may appear (for a little while) there are "too many" geese.
But, hell, a million humans showed up to Times Square last night.  Does that mean we have "too many" people?
It is of course true that when molting and raising young, the flightless geese will stay in a particular location for as much as three to four months.  But, once their flight feathers grow in and the youngsters are capable of flying, the geese are once again gone.
Unfortunately, it is during that vulnerable period of raising young and being unable to fly that our "wildlife biologists" and government have chosen to round up and gas thousands of Canada geese.  -- A really insane, as well as cruel action when one considers that the geese would leave on their own accord once capable of flying again.
One really has to question these kinds of wasteful, senseless and barbaric actions -- especially during a time of national "economic crisis" when almost all human services are being drastically cut resulting in potential loss of human life (as occurred this past week due to slow reactions in snow plowing streets.)
New York City spent $100,000 to "remove and gas" geese from Prospect Park this past summer.   But, meanwhile cut budgets for Sanitation Dept and other vital city services.
Where is the sense OR humanity in all that?
It seems there is valid reason for the phrase, "Wild Goose Chase."
We squander valuable resources and throw away tax money to chase, harass and gas geese who would fly away naturally anyway once their biological clock says, "go."  And then we tell the people, "We have no money for hospitals, schools, animal shelters or snow removal."
As for those valiant and independent "wandering minstrels" who somehow escaped the goose gassings and gun shots, they are somewhere off on an open pond or lake laughing at us now.
"What fools, humans be!"   -- PCA

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