Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Calm and Chaos Before the Storm

(Photo:  Sunnier Days. The goose family peacefully escorting boaters at the boat lake this past June.) 
Notwithstanding the thousands of runners and cyclists in Central Park this morning, one could have taken a five minute video of the landscapes and it would have appeared like a still photograph.
Not a leaf stirred, nor a bird flew.
The air was so warm, heavy and leaden that the last thing one would think is that a hurricane was on the way.
This gives new meaning to the old adage,  "Calm and quiet before a storm."
Even the ducks huddled along rocks and embankments as if to rest up for an anticipated rough day and night ahead.
As usual, I walked along the Reservoir, Turtle Pond and the boat lake.
Not a goose to be seen anywhere.
I sat for a while with my dogs looking over the almost eerie quiet of the boat lake.
I remembered back to sunnier days when the family of ten geese would be seen peacefully gliding across the water, their proud heads held high in dignity and perfect blending to their environment.  I remembered the beauty of them sunning themselves on their favorite rock. I recalled how, when recognizing my dogs and me, the family swam our way to greet and gratefully accept some treats from my hand.
The "good old days."  
And yet, they were only a month or two ago.
I wondered where Papa, Mama, their five grown goslings and the three hangers-on were now?  I wondered how "Twinkle Toes" (the goose with missing webbing on one of her feet) was doing and if she still remained with the family?  I wondered about the loner goose who was sometimes with the family and sometimes not.
How empty and sullen the same lake appeared this morning without the geese.
I felt sense of profound loss.
I tossed some seeds to a passing female mallard.  She climbed on the rock, ate some of the cracked corn and then entered the water again and swam across the lake to join the group of mallards sitting on the same rock where the geese used to stay.
Somehow, that gave me a feeling of temporary comfort.
I didn't want to worry about a "loner" duck during a hurricane.
Walking back from the lake, the early morning joggers getting in their last licks before the storm were everywhere.  The Park Drives, pedestrian paths, the bridal path, the Reservoir.
I thought to myself that Central Park during the day time is just like Times Square.  Only the people move faster and the park is greener.
Somehow, that thought was depressing.
Exiting the park and walking through city streets to return home, crowds of people bustled in and out of stores, presumably stocking up on whatever supplies would be needed before the anticipated storm.  Others lined up outside of coffee houses and restaurants, perhaps to celebrate NYC's first hurricane in almost 60 years with friends.
Arriving to my building, I had to wait a few seconds while people passed to finally make a left turn -- like a car has to wait in heavy traffic for the light to change before moving.
I thought, I don't go to the park to see more people.  I see a thousand people every time I step out my building or try to enter it.
I didn't enjoy the trip to Central Park this morning.
I don't enjoy it anytime I don't see geese.
Less than ten minutes after arriving home, the rain started to come down; the first hints of hurricane Irene presumably heading our way.
But, for me the real storm started two weeks ago.
Or, the last time I saw a goose in Central Park.
Now, it is just rain atop loss and chaos already occurred. -- PCA

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