Friday, December 6, 2013

Where have all the Geese Gone?

There's this beautiful, little inlet along my drive to work. It's a perfect place from which to launch a boat into the chain of five lakes that make this part of the world extra special.  I always look as I drive by, but rarely stop because if you have ever been where Canadian Geese congregate, you already know the layer of dropping they leave behind. But I've been noticing something is off the last few days. Where have all the geese gone? Before I was even parked, the reason was crystal clear.
 
It is bitterly cold here, and it got that way in a flash. Shelves of ice stretch out from the sides of the large lake, and the wind has picked up. A recipe for what lay before me. The inlet, on the eastern shore is now stacked with blades of ice.
 
Imagine you are a 20 pound bird, just minding your own business, and this starts bumping your side. How long would you tolerate the ice ripping at your feathers?
The same feathers you need to stay alive.
I snapped just five pictures before rushing back to my car, but I was still curious. Could I guess where they had gone? I've started to learn the patterns of the Yahara river. It will take a lifetime to really understand, but maybe, just maybe, I know.

I'll admit my first guess was wrong, but here they are. Hundreds of them now dot the ice shelf of the Yahara river as it splits to go around the isthmus that holds the dog park at Viking County Park. At least what they leave behind there will fall to the bottom of the river when the spring returns. No goose is dumb enough to take on the labs and retrievers that really were inside the park on this insanely cold day.

Riddle solved.
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