Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Sun Bringing Out Its New Year Greeting at Night



Geese roosting on the water at sunset, preparing for quiet night ahead.
Suddenly, exploding lights in the sky and the rumbling of the earth!
Geese gathered at far corner of Reservoir, the crashing lights in  distance.
Boom, crash, boom!  Is the world coming to an end?
And after the calamity ended, the geese making their way back and discussing amongst themselves, what just happened?


They awoke, startled, from their chilly, winter slumber.
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Boom, boom!  Deep and low rumbles in the distance; exploding lights in the skies!
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Huddled tightly together to brace against the cold, they began to stir and speak.
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"Mommy, Daddy what is THAT?" the little ones cried. "We are frightened!"
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"No, no, it's OK my children!" the parents answered calmly. "Not to fear. We have seen this before. The wingless ones are simply trying to scare us again.  We only have to move a bit and it will soon be over."
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More chattering further down the ranks.
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The anxious, nervous ones flittered feathers and honked loudly as the lights continued to flash and collide above them.
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"The world must be ending, I tell you, Joe! We need to gather the family and get outta here. NOW!"
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"You're right, dear. This doesn't seem normal.  Molly, Tommy and Tim!  Over here now, we need to take off!"    
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Leaving the rest behind, they and another family suddenly rose from the water and took flight over the trees, pushing away the sounds and crashing lights in their wake.
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But, most of them bravely elected to stay, to meet the challenges head on.
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As the rumbles and dancing lights continued in the distance, large gaggles of geese gathered themselves together and swam towards the most north eastern part of the Central Park Reservoir -- as far from the chaos as they could get without actually flying out.
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There, in the far corner, they rested upon the water and peered out, with some curiosity,  towards the fluttering, changing scene before them -- then even greater distance away.
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Though mostly quiet, there were some murmurings amongst them.
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"Mommy, Daddy, we don't understand. What is it? When will it end?"
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"Hush, hush, dears.  It's only a little while longer," their mother answered. "You just need to trust us and be patient. Stay quiet for now."
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And suddenly, the explosions came in multiples -- big, bursting lights flaring up and streaming down as if the whole world was on fire; the loud rumbles seemingly enough to drown out the universe entire!
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All was deathly quiet on the water. All the geese staring in the distance, like statues, frozen in place. They had made their choice and then had to live with it for better or for worse.
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But, then suddenly, as quickly as it had all started up, it was, just as quickly gone!
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One could almost hear a collective sign coming from the geese -- ah, they could breathe again!
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After a couple of moments of gathering themselves once more, the chattering resumed.
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"Well, that was kind of fanciful, wouldn't you say, old chum?"
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"Are you crazy?  It scared me half to death! What the hell are the wingless ones trying to do to us anyway?"
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"Ah now, don't be so paranoid!  Not everything the wingless ones do is about us. I think some things they do just to amuse themselves."
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"Well, I still don't like it!  Jeeze, between dodging bullets, avoiding harassment and trying to stay ahead of the Polar Vortex, how much more do we have to contend with?"
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"George, you complain too much! Your family is still intact and so you have much to be grateful for. Learn to take things in stride. You'll live a lot longer!"
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From another part of the pond, a couple of young ganders honked among themselves.
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"That was exciting, wasn't it? Scary, but exciting, like a summer lightening storm. What do you think it was?"
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"Dunno. But I remember something similar last year around the same time. Mom really freaked out at the time, but she barely gave notice this year. Some things nature doesn't explain very well.  Maybe the sun having some kind of night fit or maybe the sun fighting with the moon? Too funny and crazy for us to figure out."
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Meanwhile, as the geese began their lazy return to the middle of the water to roost, two flocks flew in and landed on the Reservoir.  Were they the same two families who had earlier left or a new gaggle arriving from the far north?  There was no way to tell.
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But, still the chattering continued as the geese still discussed the strange events that had just befallen them a few minutes earlier.
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"I tell you, Robert, its some new harassment thing the wingless ones have in store for us!"
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"Even if it is, Rebecca, we have it figured out. It's actually pretty in a weird sort of way. You don't need to fret so much.  All we lost were a few minutes of sleep."
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And further along, the family with their anxious little ones who had experienced their first turn of the new year, returned to the fold.
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"You see, dears, everything was OK, as promised," their mother reassured.
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"But, what was it, Mama?" her most precocious inquired.
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Mother reflected deeply for a moment and then replied, "I think it was the sun coming out to greet us at night and to wish us a Happy New Year!"
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As it turned out, that was as good an answer as any and all the little ones were once again comforted and assured.
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And as I left Central Park, all the geese had finally returned to their resting place on the water and all was quiet and peaceful again. 
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It had been a very nice start to the New Year -- if not just a wee bit nerve jangling.
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It seems the sun is a little clumsy when bringing out its New Year's greetings at night.  -- PCA
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3 comments:

Fran Manushkin said...

I was there too and loved the silence until the fireworks came, and then the sudden quacking and honking. I was on the East side of the reservoir near 90th, and I told people "the fireworks woke up the geese." Nobody paid the least attention--their loss. I'm so glad you wrote this commentary. I don't feel alone anymore!

PCA said...

Thank you so much for your comment, Fran! And yes, like you, I appreciate knowing someone else was there who similarly enjoyed the geese. To be honest, I go every year, not so much for the fireworks, but to study the geese's reaction and adaptation to them. And yes, "adapt" they have done as far more flocks panicked and flew out last year. Though the dialogue in blog post was of course, imagioned, it was actually based upon fact and observation over past several years. Thanks again!

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