Agog at a gaggle
May 30 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Agog at a gaggle | Friday, May 30, 2003

Friday, May 30, 2003

Agog at a gaggle

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

If only I'd had my camera.

We were driving about a mile north of home when the traffic backed up at a busy intersection that usually flows smoothly at that time of day.

The light was green, but the line of cars remained at a standstill.

A van sat in the middle of the crossroads, turned diagonally as in the middle of a left turn, but not moving.

Had there been an accident? There was no visible damage. Had the van's engine expired in the worst possible place?

We wondered, and we waited.

And then we knew.

Out the window to our right, we saw the parade.

It was the first marching troop of goose-steppers that I ever found appealing, because it was made up entirely of Canadian geese.

At precisely the appropriate place for crossing the road, eight adults were shepherding no less than 19 fuzzy goslings from the drugstore parking lot to more profitable feeding grounds in the grassy meadow beyond.

And the traffic stopped to let them pass.

An adult led the way, its head bobbing up and down on its long and graceful neck. Other adults scattered themselves throughout the gaggle of goslings, honking and bobbing. The young ones, ranging from six inches to a foot tall, waddled along, exploring the world, kept in line by their feathered chaperones.

The next morning, on the way to work, I saw them again, crossing from another quadrant of the intersection.

It was an enthralling scene. The lead goose ventured tentatively into the road, bobbing its head and spreading its wings like a crossing guard holding out a hand to stop the traffic.

And the traffic stopped, not the first car by, but the second.

Only then did the leader step further into the road, with its long line of charges in tow.

That goose, like the other adults, could have flown across the road without a second thought, but God gave it enough parental instinct to risk its life for the sake of the young and to walk on their level to see them safely across.

I suppose having sense enough to stay in the pasture and avoid the road is asking too much of a bird with a brain the size of a small acorn.

But loyalty to the little ones is not so much a matter of the mind as of the heart.

Would that more people had the heart of a goose.

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5/30/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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