Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Play Misty For Me

A few weeks ago, I complained to the Central Park Conservancy and the Park Commissioner's office about the fishing that was newly occurring at Turtle Pond.
A few days later, I received a cheerful, optimistic (commercial-like) call back from the Conservancy to assure me that, "Fishing is absolutely not allowed at Turtle Pond!"
"That is wonderful news!" I told the gentleman on the phone. "But, you need to get the 'No Fishing' signs back up again!"
"Well, we are working on that.  But, you know Central Park already has so many signs. It's overwhelming for some people."
"True," I said, "But, these signs are important to have up."
Despite the fact I have been to Turtle Pond numerous times since that conversation without seeing the signs reposted, I still believed what I was told. 
In fact, I even wrote about the "positive news" in this blog. 
But, two weeks later, I am now wondering why that gentleman called me in the first place?
Yesterday, it rained in New York City most of the day.
I love Central Park when it rains.
There is a lovely, wistful and dreamlike quality about it.
Few people around, except for a few stray joggers and dog walkers.
Groups of robins, pigeons, grackles and sparrows, grazing peacefully on the undisturbed grasses.
A light rain coming down and the fog accompanying it bestows a feeling of peace and mistyness.
Yesterday, I thought I heard a couple of honks when walking near the Great Lawn, but I did not see any geese in the sky.    Perhaps in eagerly anticipating the two geese I came to Turtle Pond to see ("Mama and Papa") I had imagined the familiar honking? 
I could not be sure.
Walking towards Turtle Pond,  my feelings of serenity and anticipation started to turn to a sense of foreboding.
Suddenly, the pond appeared before me as some barren, empty, gray slate.
There was not a mallard or goose to be seen on it.
As usual, I was starting to feel some sense of rising alarm over Mama and Papa goose.
Where were they?
I began to walk around Turtle Pond towards Belvedere Castle and the rocks that support it.   Hopefully, the two geese were somewhere in the rocks as they had frequently been in recent days.
That is when I saw it.
The evidence, so to speak, that what I was told two weeks ago was a crock of crap.
Despite the rain and the fact there was hardly anyone in the park, there was a lone fisherman on the rocks of the otherwise, very empty and dead quiet, Turtle Pond.
He looked at me while I snapped a picture.
I did not say anything to the hook and linesman, as there weren't any "No Fishing" signs to point to.
Inside, I felt betrayed and lied to.
But, I would feel even more depressed when actually going to the castle and discovering that Mama and Papa goose were no where to be seen anywhere among the rocks.
Ah, Jesus, they must be lying about not using the goose harassment so far this year, too!   One can't believe anything these people say.
A sick feeling came over me.  I felt suddenly queasy and needed to get away from the rocks.
Returning dejectedly back to the Turtle Pond area, I looked over the Great Lawn which was closed to the public due to the rain.
And suddenly, I could see in the distance, what appeared to be a few geese!
Could it be?   Could that be Mama and Papa?  But, there appear to be two other geese!
I began to walk around the Great Lawn to get a better view of the peacefully grazing geese.
Since the lawn was closed and gated off, I could not get real close to the geese, nor could I be sure Mama and Papa were among them.  (Papa usually doesn't welcome new geese.)
But, I was able to get close enough. 
I stood for a few minutes and just quietly watched and snapped a few photos.
And then, as the geese started to slowly walk, I noticed the one with the pronounced limp!
It was Papa!   And Mama was right beside him.
Suddenly, all the sorrow in my heart miraculously lifted!  
For a second, Mama and Papa seemed to see me and even made a couple of steps in my direction.
But, I did not motion or encourage them to come my way.
The Great Lawn is neither a safe nor welcoming area for them.
Papa and Mama then turned towards the two other geese and all four returned to grazing together.
It was at that point, I figured that the other geese were two of their grown goslings from last year.
I was watching a partial family reunion!
It was a beautiful and serene scene created by the rain that closed off the Great Lawn to the public, making it possible not only for a family of geese, but all the other birds to enjoy the benefits of a gray, raw and misty day.
Deciding not to intrude on this lovely scene further, I quietly turned to return home.
But, what really is home anymore?
The questions, the lies, the endless, cookie-cutter articles and videos that juxtapose pictures of geese with a ditched airliner in the Hudson and the false promises that we would ever leave the wildlife in peace in our city parks?
But, yesterday, there was some semblance of peace -- though rudely punctuated by a guy with a fishing line over a seemingly empty pond. -- The pond where, "absolutely no fishing is allowed!"
Yes, I am angry now about that phone call two weeks ago.  Because, I was dumb enough to believe it and in reporting it on this blog, was made into a liar too.
Perhaps the reason I love the geese so much is because, like all animals, they are so honest and true.
And perhaps why I love the rain so much is because it is the one time where the animals in our parks can truly enjoy the peace and the serenity that surrounds them.  -- The one time for a quiet, family get together on the grass.
"Play misty for me" -- everyday.   -- PCA

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