Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day

(Photos: 1-- Piggy and Wiggly enjoying New Year's treat with Brad behind them. 2-- Pretty Wiggly.  3-- Gorgeous goose girl keeping alert.  4-- Fireworks at Central Park last night welcoming in New Year.)
Lots of human activity at Central Park on New Year's Eve.
Flood lights, police patrols, kids shooting off firecrackers, the "Midnight Run" in which thousands of runners participate and of course, the fireworks display.
I went to Harlem Meer late last night because of planning to catch the fireworks display at midnight along the Reservoir.
I am not sure if was due to the late hour or just the heightened activities, but most of the ducks and geese were lying low at the Meer.
Only a few ducks, one family of geese and of course, the "Bradly Brigade" boldly came to me.
The family of four geese seemed skittish and on high alert.  But, Brad (being so accustomed to human activities at Harlem Meer) was not at all perturbed and (following Brad's lead) neither were his two new troupe members, Piggly and Wiggly.
I was able to snap a few quick photos.
Leaving the Meer, I headed, with my dogs, to the Reservoir to welcome in the New Year.
People were already gathered with glasses of champagne, horns and vigorous party spirit along the Reservoir to catch the fireworks in the distance.
But, what was surprising were the number of people with dogs!
There is a Central Park rule that dogs are normally not allowed on the Reservoir running path.
(Of course, I walk with my dogs every night along the Reservoir. But, there usually are very few people the times I go and my dogs walk upon the ledge.)
But, it seems many people specifically wait for New Year's or the Fourth of July to bring their dogs to the Reservoir for holiday festivities.   The normal "rules" briefly and thankfully fly out the window.
One young fellow even took advantage of the opportunity to run around the Reservoir with his Springer Spaniel!
I thought that particularly amusing considering the "Midnight Run" through the park was specifically arranged for joggers.
Anyway, it was fun. 
Both my dogs (especially, Tina) seemed to eat up the compliments of fellow revelers.   Tina loves human attention and accolades.   One man even tried to offer her champagne! 
But, like her human caregiver, Tina would have preferred coffee.
Today, of course, things are much more quiet as most people are probably sleeping off hangovers.
I am thinking of heading to the Meer before dark to check if most of the geese and ducks stayed through the celebrations or chose to leave the park.
It was difficult to tell in the darkness last night.
There is of course much to reflect about and plan on this first day of the new year.
2011 was certainly not a kind year for wildlife and especially the persecuted Canada geese in NYC and elsewhere.
But, there are a few glimmers of hope on the horizon for the New Year.
Most significant was the cancellation of the canned goose shootings that were scheduled to occur at Burns Park, Arkansas just prior to Christmas.
That is extremely hopeful news -- even it means that the park will engage in a similar program of goose "harassment" as Central Park has done for a number of years.  I hate the harassment, but I hate the cullings, shootings, gassings and slaughtering even more.
Its a pity that we as a species cannot learn to do right by nature by protecting and restoring natural habitats and severely limiting hunting.
I truly believe that were the geese not being shot everywhere else and losing their habitat, they would prefer to stay in natural settings as opposed to fleeing to urban parks and golf courses for perceived "safety."
But, try telling that to governmental bureaucracies.
For the moment, we are forced to accept "compromises" as so many humans are seemingly unable and unwilling to peacefully co-exist with the geese and other wildlife.
A rather sad statement about modern "status quos" and the human/animal condition.
Still, I am grateful that the few geese I have personally grown to know and love over the past few years have miraculously survived the onslaughts of human cruelty and intolerance.
May 2012 grant and bless them with further safety and protection and may that freedom to live extend more and more to the other geese around our great city and the country.
We leave 2011 on hopeful note.
May 2012 bring the blessing of all (humans and animals)  being finally able to co-exist and live peacefully on high note.  -- PCA

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