So today I was walking, I always walk, or bike, or ski, but never run, because running feels like the whole weight of the earth will crush my bones, so I was walking around the lake, because this is the place that I live and there is still ice on the lake, and I'm thinking of birds, and how this has been a hard winter for birds and aquatic birds can and do get their feet frozen into the ice, yet another horrific and perfectly natural way to die, and I'm thinking that even though this may be a normal thing that happens, I really don't ever want to be the one to witness it, and then I look down.
I look down the steep embankment, and there at the bottom are two geese, and one of them is standing with his legs knee deep in the ice. He is very still, and I read this as resigned.
When I walk, I have a route that if I walk consistantly fast, and take no detours, will take an exact hour to complete. This fits into my schedule.
So I see the goose standing knee deep in the ice, and thinking I will be late for supper. But something must be done, I can't just walk on by.
There is another goose, and she is resting nearby with her head curled upon her body. Geese, I hear, mate for life, and there she is, faithful.
I start making my way down, which isn't easy. The embankment is steep, and last year's grass is slick, and I'm trying not to panic them. They grunt softly. They do not sound panicked. They do not even sound perturbed.
I'm already thinking, if the goose is really stuck, what am I going to do? The misses will surely not stand idly by and will I really go out onto thawing ice on an April afternoon?
I don't want to do this, and the geese again grunt softly. They not only don't sound upset, but sound downright content making my horrid imaginings highly unlikely, but then again, it's incredibly odd for geese to be completely unbothered by a human scrambling down a bank. At this point, I just want to be sure everything's okay, so I say (and yes, I say it outloud) "I just need you to show me you're not stuck" and, now that I'm all the way down, with casual nonchalance, he lifts first one leg out of the ice, and then the other. The misses stands and stretches, and they grunt softly at each other.
I turn around and look up the embankment. It's very steep, I hope I'm not stuck.
Of course I do, with effort, get myself up the bank, and the geese are fine, and always, as the ice has turned into a transparent slurry of slush that they have no trouble negotiating but what I can't figure out is why they were so incredibly calm about both my presence and approach. As if from the moment I moved in for the "rescue" they were telling me, quite clearly, "all good, we're fine" if only I had listened.
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