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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From My Window

Issue Date: May 27, 2021

Wild Goose Chase

By Jane Thibodeau Martin,




**********

â€Wild Goose Chase††a foolish and hopeless pursuit of something unattainable. I use the term in frustration when I go to several stores in a row looking for something, and none of them have the needed item.

Mike and I got to watch a real â€wild goose chase†at our home lately. And it was pretty entertaining.

Mike came in and told me he had just seen two loudly honking geese, probably the pair that we think has nested on Hank Lake, fly unusually low over the field next to our house. At the road, they banked and came back again, still low and loud. Mike then noticed a blur running along the ground behind the geese †a brown and white dog with a conspicuous blaze orange collar.

We were surprised by a free-running dog, since loose dogs are unusual in our neighborhood. I stepped outside to see if I could wrangle the dog and return it to its home. As I walked outside, I heard a most ungodly racket coming from the lake. It suddenly occurred to me the dog might be after the goose nest, or possibly baby geese. When I walked the short path to the shore, intending to try and help the parent geese, I saw them, swimming around in big circles. Right behind them was a little brown head, paddling along, chasing first one goose then the other. They were easily eluding the dog, and kept up their furious honking continuously.

I called the dog but it was single-mindedly fixed on the geese. And while the dog gamely kept up its futile â€wild goose chase,†it was clearly tiring. I started to worry it would drown, but as luck would have it, I had just painted the seats of my tiny boat so I couldn't go out after it. I went back to the house and got a leash and by the time I returned, the little head was clearly lower in the water. Luckily the obsessed dog got its footing in some shallows and jumped out, shaking water in all directions. It looked like a German Shorthair Pointer, a lovely compact and probably young one. It looked at me briefly when I whistled, but then dashed away to the north. Hopefully it was soon safely home where it belonged.

The parent birds settled immediately and I was grateful everyone came out of the fracas okay.

It is remarkable to witness the utter fixation a really â€birdy†bird dog has. It is intense and stubborn. But it was quite clear the geese were â€schooling†this youngster from the beginning. I suspect they first attempted to lead the dog further from the water by flying low and making noise; when it persisted in following they took to the water, where they were able to â€tag team†the dog until it couldn't swim any more. If they had just wanted to get away themselves, they could easily have flown a mile away at height and the dog would have been left far behind. But they were defending something, and there wasn't any need for me to be worried on their behalf. They were in control all along.

The dog had been led on a â€wild goose chase,†and we got the fun of watching the battle of goose parental instincts and wiles versus the â€born to hunt†drive of a high energy bird dog.

There was a time I would have missed this entire nature drama. For most of my adult life, I was so busy, and so focused on my never ending â€list†of things that needing doing, that I wouldn't have found Mike's report of odd goose behavior worthy of more than a passing thought, much less a â€go see.†But at 65, I make time more often to indulge my curiosity, and am always rewarded when I do. For me the â€golden years†have become a time to be more spontaneous. Mind you, I still have a long list. I'm just willing to make it wait for me now and then.

God bless those who made the ultimate sacrifice on this Memorial Day, as well as their families and friends; and those who came back alive but are still suffering as a result of their service to all of us.

You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: JanieTMartin@gmail.com.


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