Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Pictures of Romeo" -- Not

(Photo:  A very skittish Brad last night at Harlem Meer with two equally spooked mallards.  Were the "ghosts" out?) 
Last night, when going to Harlem Meer, I brought my camera in hopes of capturing some portrait photos of Romeo.
But, immediately when arriving there, I knew the family of five geese and their particularly friendly, trusting yearling were gone.
I knew that because no ducks were gathered on the south embankment.
Heart sinking, I walked around peering into the blackened lake where all the mallards were huddled and scattered.
Eventually, the "regulars," having recognized me, made their way to the embankment, cautiously  beseeching some treats.
But, Brad, the Rouen domestic duck was not among them!
What's going on? Where is he? I wondered.
Moreover, the ducks who did come were as jumpy and nervous as jackrabbits on crack.
Any tiny move on my part sent them immediately exploding back to the water. Twice, they bolted back without anything at all going on.  There were no dogs or other humans around. I began to wonder if there were ghosts in the area spooking the mallards?
Depressed and bewildered by the scene before me, I decided to walk around the entire Meer to look for Brad.  
Though upset about the missing family of geese, I knew they were gone just by the behavior of the mallards. 
Unlike the previous few nights that the geese were present and almost all the ducks were boldly and brashly gathered alongside the goose family on the grassy southern bank, last night, the ducks were clustered and scattered in small groups mostly in the center of the water.  It was a quiet, almost  eerie scene.  Like an unmoving, still photograph -- only it was real life.
It seemed obvious something had likely occurred earlier in the day to upset and disrupt the mallards' normal balance.
Finally having traversed the entire Meer with no sighting of Brad, I began to seriously worry.  At the same time, however, one had to acknowledge that he could be somewhere in the middle of the lake where most of the ducks sat on the water like statues.
I returned with my two dogs back to the south bank.
Once again, a few nervous ducks made their way to me and I tossed whatever remained of the treats to them.
I began to hatch a plan for today.
Will have to return tomorrow in the daytime to look for Brad.....  If not here, then to make calls to inquire about goose harassment and what happened to domestic duck...... 
But, just at that moment, Brad finally showed up.
"Where have you been?  I have been searching all over and calling for you!"
Brad, of course gave no answer.   He simply approached me nervously and took a small handful of seed and then skittishly jumped back.
All the ducks were weird and spazzed out last night.
I kept feeling I was surrounded by malevolent ghosts that I could not see, but the ducks magically could.
It was no "duck party" last night.
Finally leaving the spooked Meer, my thoughts then turned to the (once again) missing geese.
Under normal circumstances, one might figure that Papa, Mama and the three yearlings might have decided to "pond hop" and look for some especially grassy park lawns to graze on.  (Its too early for them to migrate.)
But, as already noted repeatedly, nothing is "normal" these days.
It was of course possible that the family took off again to seek a "gathering" site for the geese.
But, in trying to figure logical reasons for the geese disappearing once again, the behavior of the ducks, including Brad, kept coming back to me.
Why had they been so spooked tonight?
Since I am not really a believer in "ghosts," I did not attribute the strange behavior to that.
It was more likely that "goose patrol harassment" had been set upon the geese either earlier in the evening or the early morning yesterday.
And that thought not only depressed, but infuriated me.
I am obviously at a point now of simply not trusting the leadership of Central Park and NYC to do the right thing and leave a pitiful family of Canada geese in the park alone.
Perhaps that is because we the animal and nature lovers of New York City have now been burned too many times.
Become too cozy and admiring of geese, you will soon have to deal with the reality of the birds either being rounded up and gassed, slaughtered or at the very minimum, harassed out of the park.
"There is nothing fair in this world.  There is nothing safe in this world.  And there's nothing pure and there's nothing sure in this world.    Is there something left in this world?   Start again!"   ("White Wedding," Billy Idol)
For me, the "something left" (and something actually pure) in this world was the geese.
But, we cannot tolerate and rather, seek to destroy them.
Over the past few days, I have considered joining up for a bit with the "Occupy Wall Street" crowd.
But, my grievances with government and those in power are not seemingly theirs.
I don't really care about whose getting more or whose getting less.  I don't care whose getting what and when.  I don't honestly care whose not getting theirs.
To me, life is not about "getting" or accumulation.
Its about appreciating what we have and preserving.
But, somehow we are not allowed even that -- the "little things" in life, so to speak.
I went to a park last night simply to get a photo of a goose.
But, it wasn't to be.
For me, the "something left" (and something pure) in this world is gone.
Where does one go to "protest" about that?  -- PCA

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