Sitting at work, on a Wednesday just the same as every other day this week, a sound catches my attention. It is so far from the normal sounds of car horns and train whistles that I am suddenly rolling my chair back and making my way to my office door before I’ve even had a chance to think about it, lured by a sound that is as familiar and loved as it is unexpected in this place, at this time.
What is that? Could it be? Is it really?
Yes it is. Canadian Geese.
They are in fact a pair, a Him and a Her, taking up residence here outside of my office. They are stunning, probably 15 pounds each, easily. They come right up on the sidewalk by my door, looking at those other sassy geese reflected in the office windows, and I find that I am laughing out loud. They put on quite a show, spreading their wings and snaking those lovely long necks of theirs…oh how fierce! How majestic! I am leaning against my office door, watching them, enchanted. The glass is cool and soothing against my forehead, and in that moment I am transported back to my childhood.
...it is 1971, and I am sick. Again. Leaning my forehead on the window, the glass is cool and soothing. I’m bored. It’s raining outside, and there’s not much on television. I scour the book shelf, looking for something interesting. My young mind is sharp, and even at the tender age of nine, I am already a voracious and accomplished reader…and now I am in search of something, ANYTHING to disperse the boredom. The book I decided to read that day was the book that instilled a love of the Canadian goose, and a fascination with them that I have never outgrown. That fascination is renewed every year without fail when they begin their migrations. I love the lonely sound they make high up in the sky, safe out of our reach, leading each other home.
Wild Goose Brother Goose is the story of Duke, a Canadian gander, and the inspiration he brings to the people who are drawn into his life. It chronicles his struggle to live, his complete devotion to a crippled mate who will never take to the skies, his subsequent searing loss of her, and his incredible commitment to raise their goslings to adulthood alone, against all odds. Solitary and grieving, Duke was and is an unlikely hero, but his story took root in my impressionable nine year old heart and lives there still.