Before the days turned cold again, I sat here, looking off beyond the dock, to the little tuft of tall field grasses growing just where the pond water splits—half coming from behind the old oak woods, half draining our usually puddled lot of young Sugar Maples.
To a mound, where, every spring, a goose would sit on a nest of eggs, her head low, barely seen. While her mate swam in the shallow water, back and forth, beside her.
But, each spring we’d watch, as this little family grew, day by day, with each crossing, smaller by one. Until, none remained but the mated pair, to move on and return the next year.
I always wondered about them, their defenseless young in a world that feeds upon the most innocent.
The unknown dangers they’d fought against—and lost.
Yet, each year, began again.
I watched, several springs later, the nest, more suddenly emptied than ever before.
As if they’d been taken all at once—the whole family, in the course of just one afternoon.
Shells broken and scattered.
Both goose and gander, gone.
From the thick, snarled grass of the field, far skirting the edge of the pond, she stepped out onto the paved surface of our little country lane.
Behind her, six or eight, walking in a row, to feed on the tender grass--
and never touch the water of the pond.