Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Boulder's Lonely Goose

There is what appears to be a lonely goose in an unlikely spot here in Boulder. Last summer I noticed a pair of Canadian geese living on an extremely busy intersection in town where several roads and a busy bicycle trail intersect. This goose habitat is a small triangle of land between these roads which contains a small pond.

Towards the end of last summer there was only one goose there. He was always there and always alone, but left over the winter.

No doubt thousands of people "know" of this lone goose, as there is a stoplight near the triangle where cars stop and can observe him. The same spot is usually manned by a rotating crew of panhandlers.

I took these photos as I was biking down the trail from attending the University of Colorado's "Conference on World Affairs" this week. Discovering that this goose is back, all alone, in this same spot this spring was like stumbling across a cherished friend. It was one of those signs that makes one believe in the patterns and cycles of life which indicate that all is well with the world, not unlike the Sandhill cranes returning to the Platte River early each spring.

I am rather awed by his loyalty to this very urban patch of land as it begs so many questions.

Was he raised in this spot? Does he feel secure in this spot which any person of reason can see is not the safest place for him? Is he so loyal that he's in hope of his long gone mate returning? Or hopeful for a new mate to appear? Or is he just a loner? Where did he go over winter and was he alone then?

Has his environment of busy cars, panhandlers, bikers and walkers become a satisfactory substitute to him for interaction with other geese? Is he being bribed to stay because of human handouts? What will happen to him?

What is it that gives some beings such a strong sense of place and others wanderlust? Some a strong loyalty in relationships and others not? Some a need for frequent species interconnection and others not?

Perhaps it is not a sense of place that this goose has but an attachment to something innate about his own history there. Maybe it is simply an attitude of contentment wherever one happens to settle down. Home is security through familiarity. One's universe then revolves around that particular spot, wherever it may be.

My heart melts for this goose.