Friday, August 26, 2011

Shelter From the Storm

As everyone knows, all the news today is about hurricane Irene which is about to hit the East Coast, including New York City over the weekend.
Living on Manhattan's Upper East Side, I am not quite sure what to expect over the next few days.  This is not an "evacuation zone," so I am surmising my pets and I will be OK.
But, I am certainly worried about the wildlife and birds around our fair city. -- Especially, Brad, the lone flightless, domestic duck at Harlem Meer. 
Now that the geese are gone from the Meer, I am hoping the mallards at least stay, but I am not sure about that.   During the blizzard of last winter, the mallards all took off, leaving Brad and Angelina alone to tough out the blizzard for themselves.
That was a particularly brutal night that is hard to forget. As an adult human, I had great difficulty just walking and keeping balance in the fierce winds and whipping snow.  It was amazing that birds weighing maybe 1/11th of what I do managed to get through it.
But, even though she survived the brutal winter and the blizzard, Angelina mysteriously and sadly vanished a few months ago, during the beautiful, "gentle" spring.  
Brad might be entirely on his own, come Sunday.  And yes, I am very worried over that.
New York City hasn't experienced a hurricane since 1954.
I was just a small kid then, so have no memory of it.
Obviously, the people and wildlife in NYC are not accustomed to hurricanes, though we sometimes get bad storms.
The press conferences and constant news reports over the past day or two, do lead one to wonder if we are on the precipice of something truly dangerous and possibly deadly or if this is simply overreaction and media hysteria? 
One suspects Bloomberg is being especially cautious and proactive, since he took a great deal of heat and criticism over his mishandling of the blizzard response last December.
Still, to learn that we will be shutting down all subways and buses tomorrow is a bit unsettling.
I'm glad I know how to swim.
Speaking of swimming, now that the competition of the season is over (or perhaps due to the cooler temperatures of this past week), Lasker Pool was virtually empty last night.
I felt richer than Trump, having a bigger than Olympic size pool practically to myself.
Sometimes the best times at public pools are the last week of the season -- especially when temperatures fail to climb out of the 70's.
Perfect swimming opportunity.
One that I plan to take full advantage of tonight.
But, I also will be sure to take extra cracked corn, seeds, lettuce and perhaps even a few morsels of bread tonight for Brad and his duckie friends.
One gets the feeling that they won't be able to get in much grazing over the weekend.
That only I could scoop Brad up and bring him home with me for a couple of days.
But, with his new wariness, that won't be possible.
Rather, I will say a simple prayer that Brad and his feathered friends survive what nature has in store.
"Shelter from the storm," so to speak.
Very early yesterday morning, I walked with my dogs around the Reservoir, Turtle Pond and even once again, to the boat lake.
Not one goose anywhere to be seen.
It seems as though the geese have entirely and mysteriously vanished from Central Park.
One cannot help but wonder if these birds somehow get early warnings of earthquakes and hurricanes about to hit an area?
I certainly saw no geese prior to the blizzard of last winter.  Indeed, most of the sparrows seemed to vanish from the city prior to last winter.  (Something, that at the time caused me some alarm as sparrows usually stay in NYC through our winters.)
But, the sparrows returned in the spring, as did the geese.
But, right now?   The sparrows are here, but I have no idea where the geese went.
It seems the geese have already sought shelter from the storm.
Sometimes, I think they know more than we do.  -- PCA

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