After church on Sunday, late morning, I visit a downtown park, one that is wild and overgrown, with broad patches of green lawn, today, dotted with Canadian Geese. The surrounding ground is densely-covered with full-blooming, untended Forsythia, not quite blooming Synringa, and massive, luxurious fir trees. This morning one of those trees is a resting place for thousands of Finches who inhabit every millimeter. You cannot see them unless one of them takes flight. But the fir is alive with them. The limbs are wiggling and bird song inhabits the park. LBBs the biologists call them. Little Brown Birds.
The whole park has the feel of a big city airport. It’s mating and incubating season. The park is safe enough, and the geese are coming and going in raucous abandon. There are hundreds of them, and their honks and wheezes signal in-coming flights. Big ponds, newly full of water, beckon them and their landings include long splashes. They are usually not aggressive, but in mating season, they are with each other, competing for nesting space. They mate for life, an endearing quality. They have a hiss when they want you to go away, and that happens today. It’s more of a “Nothing to see here, move along” kind of hiss. They aren’t going to attack, but they don’t want me there either. I did see babies, little chartreuse puff balls. No kidding. Baby ducks are yellow, but baby geese have a nice green hue.
It’s the middle of April, and about half the trees are green and the lilacs are about to pop.
Every kind of person is here. A woman who is a master walker; you can tell by her shoes, serious walking shoes and she’s quick on her feet. Little kids trail through the geese nesting area, and one of the male geese follows them, a not particularly welcome event. The little boy catches on and begins to follow the goose, who turns and walks away. I’m happy that happened for the little boy and the goose.
Most people in the park are carrying cameras, and there are two young girls in bikinis who are modeling. It’s cold enough that the young women are uncomfortable, and they are uncomfortable being so scantily clad. I’m wondering where their moms are. Wouldn’t you be questioning your daughter if she’s trying to sneak out of the house in a bikini, and it’s not 40 degrees out? The girls change clothes in the park, standing behind somebody’s coat. Isn’t enough. Where are their mothers?
And then there’s this: People have been commenting about deer in the park for years. It’s not a half a mile from the downtown core, backs up against the freeway, isn’t far from a river. And deer live here, in the undergrowth. It’s thick enough that if my cat Obi were here that I’d never see him and never catch him, unless he wanted me to. Let alone a deer, a white tailed deer, who is ever so shy, standing next to the ponds, gently nibbling the tender, green shoots.