Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Mad Men Cometh

Peaceful Canada geese at Jackie Onassis Reservoir, Central Park. But, what does next few weeks have in store for them?
My favorite TV show by far, is Mad Men.

Not only is the writing, acting and story telling on this show superlative, but, the characters all too real, flawed and human.

But, it is the opening, cartoon footage of a man falling from a building to eventually be caught by a female foot before hitting the ground that is particularly intriguing.

I often feel I am falling from a building (at least mood wise). Only I don't perceive a human foot to catch me.

There was a time when the geese and ducks of Central Park caught and uplifted me from troubled or despaired moods.

That was particularly experienced and acknowledged on 9-11-2001 when NYC was attacked by terrorists, thousands of people died and the World Trade Center reduced to a pile of smoldering rubble.

It was a frightening and depressing period of grief and mourning for both, our city and the nation to be plunged into.

At the time, however,  I found great solace, joy and comfort in watching how the rest of the world (mainly, the wildlife of our parks) went on as if nothing had happened.

I was particularly enamored of Canada geese and mallards as these very social birds so welcome humans into their world and are so willing to share.

Somehow, the geese and ducks engendered in me a sense of hope, peace and renewal.

They were the foot that captured and saved, so to speak.

More than a decade from that terrible time in history (and my personal spiritual awakening by birds in a park)  many of those same birds have become targets for human frustration, hostility and misplaced aggression.

I am speaking of course of the Canada geese.

Despite the best efforts of myself and many other good people to try and "pay it forward" by promoting a peaceful and accepting attitude towards geese and other wildlife in our parks, our public officials insist on viewing and treating these animals as winged "terrorists" of our skies and parks. -- A label that does not speak to any kind of reality.

On the contrary, derisive depictions of geese as "threats" to humans in any manner are more comparable to propaganda campaigns that would rival anything put out by the ad men of Madison Avenue.

Geese are not "winged terrorists."  They are not "pests" or "nuisance." And they represent no viable threat whatsoever to humans, other wildlife or the environment.

On the contrary, Canada geese are models for the best of human behavior that we might ourselves aspire to such as devotion and organization to kind, loyalty to mate, protection of offspring and peace with nature.  

So, why are geese so persecuted, harassed and targeted for destruction in New York City and elsewhere?

That is a difficult question to answer as there are no sound or reasonable answers, other than human arrogance, propaganda and intolerance.

Already, USDA is doing goose "surveys" around New York City parks and within weeks their agents will once again descend (in early morning hours) with nets, crates and trucks to capture and ship hundreds of flightless, terrorized and defenseless park geese to slaughterhouses upstate:

The mostly clandestine operations are witnessed by few people. -- Indeed, most New Yorkers are not even aware of them.

The goose killing contract between NYC and USDA runs through 2014.

Until then, the source of what used to be for me, the foot lifting out of despair, will be instead, a source of the despair itself.

But, not because of the geese.

Because of the "mad men" who come to kill them.

That only there was a foot to lift us out of the despair and destruction of our own folly. -- PCA


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