The Geese

by Erik Dolson

The geese are back. It’s spring, there’s two of them. For all I know, it’s a different pair from last year, maybe even from last week. Hard to I.D. a goose.

But I choose to think it’s a returning couple. I doubt they’ll stay. There’s no island in my pond, so no safe nesting and too many coyotes with easy access. They just drop in once in a while to graze on vegetation growing on branches I threw in the end of the pond farthest from the house.

I like their routine. After landing with a skidding splash, they swim the perimeter to see what’s what. When they feel safe, the larger one (may I assume it’s the male?) climbs up the shallow bank and stands watch while the smaller one feeds on greens below the mirrored surface.

After a while they switch, he goes in the water and she stands guard. With longer legs, he seems to run in place once in a while. I think he’s scraping vegetation off the branches below. Then his head disappears and his butt rises up, like one of those wooden bobbing birds  you sometimes see in restaurants.

Then, they switch stations again.

Eventually, they’re both on the bank. If talking, I can’t hear what they say. But then they turn and face the mountains, squat slightly, then rise up and their wings unfold in unison and they are off flying, carving gracefully in the sky a synchronized curve, wordlessly sharing the same direction.