Saturday, March 19, 2011

Nourishment to the Heart

With all the horrors occurring in the world right now, it was vitalizing to the soul yesterday to take my dogs to see the geese and mallards in Central Park.
But, along with reassurances of normalcy and peace from the wildlife itself, there was also the delight of witnessing  scores of joyful people and children so dearly cherishing and valuing the waterfowl in their park.
Photos posted here represent merely a tiny portion of what could actually have been taken yesterday at Harlem Meer.
The day itself was beautiful.  Temperature in the 70's, millions of tiny buds on the trees and the sun shining brightly through bright blue, spring skies.
Indeed, the first flowers of spring are already in full bloom.
When first arriving at Harlem Meer, I did not initially see many geese.
But, it was soon apparent that the geese were simply spread out in different small groups or pairs around the lake.
Unlike the winter, when geese typically huddle down closely in large groups (presumably for warmth and survival) around small pools of open water, spring brings with it, the freedom of pairing off in large open water and savoring bountiful food supply.
Mallards too, are mostly in pairs this time of year --  though the new freedoms and adventurous opportunities can occasionally cause some to accidentally stray.
One of those "stray" ducks yesterday was Angelina!
Imagine my alarm yesterday, when seeing for the first time, Brad swimming on the water all alone!
Oh my God, where's Angelina?
Brad, indeed seemed frantic in search of his lost mate.  Not at all interested in any treats, Brad simply sped throughout the water endlessly quacking.
"Angelina, where the hell are you??!!"  one could imagine the distraught drake anxiously  calling.
I looked for Angelina all around the marshes and grass, as well as near the Dana Discovery Center.   No trace of her!
I then tried to follow Brad as he barreled towards the east side of the lake where, both many people and geese were gathered.  Brad continued to desperately call out.
But, sure enough, moments later, there was Brad peacefully swimming with his lost lady love, Angelina right beside him!
I breathed a sigh of relief.
Both ducks recognized and swam towards me.  They came up on a small embankment.
But, while Angelina casually nibbled at seed, completely unfazed by what had just occurred, Brad continued to "talk" incessantly as if giving his wandering mate some kind of lecture!
"Geeze, I turn my back for a second and you go and run off with the geese!  What the hell was that all about?  I've spent the last hour looking for you!"
For her part, Angelina continued to snack as if to completely dismiss Brad's worries and complaints with a casual, "Whatever."
It has always been more than apparent that while Brad may be the "worker" of the two ducks (especially when the lake was frozen over and Brad fought endlessly to keep the small pool of water open), it is Angelina who is the real leader and ruler of the two ducks.  
Brad almost always has to follow Angelina, rather than the other way around.
If some gander momentarily caught Angelina's eye, then so be it.  It was up to Brad to keep sight on and not lose his curious and adventurous lady love.
After a few minutes, both ducks returned to the water and continued to swim together.
Presumably, BrAdgelina stay that way -- or at least until another cute gander passes by and Brad is foolish enough to turn his head.  -- It seems Ms. Angelina has a bit of a roving eye in the spring.
Continuing around the lake, I watched and snapped some photos of families and children enjoying the geese or mallards and in most cases, offering treats.  Other birds flocked around the seemingly gregarious banquet, including a few pigeons, sparrows and some exotic species that I did not recognize. All seemed to quickly scoop up those little leftover treats from the geese and mallards.
A number of young couples snapped photos of each other either posing in front of geese or attempting to feed.
It was all enchanting and nourishing to the heart. 
Finally, when leaving the very bird enriched Harlem Meer, I could not help but wonder if our Mayor and other city and government officials have any idea just how treasured and celebrated the birds of our parks really are -- especially, it seems, Canada geese?
For if they did, they could surely never sanction or endorse, harassment and killing of the glorious geese so many New Yorkers have so come to cherish and adore. 
Especially in these very uncertain and otherwise, bereft times. -- PCA

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