by Carol Dunn
I kind of feel sorry for geese this time of year. The weather really messes them up. When it starts to chill down in September and October, they’re ready to head south. Giant gaggles of them study geometry to see what an arrow is, then they take off. Every mile or so, they switch leaders, which is a good idea. That way, if they get lost, there’s no one left to blame.
So they get as far as Raton and the weather feels pretty warm there. The leader-du-jour calls a meeting in a field somewhere and they all decide they left too early and they better head back north. They point their arrow toward Canada (they are Canadian Geese after all), and they take off, unfortunately, for Huerfano County. Of course, once they get here, it’s cold again. So back south they go, a little grumpier, but still hankering for a few months on the beach.
The weather messes with their heads all winter really, and with a brain that small, it doesn’t take a lot of messing to make a big difference. I think some of them never do end up somewhere warm. That’s why you sometimes see a couple of them wandering around fields covered with snow wondering what happened. Where’d everyone go? Crimony, I just stopped for a bathroom break! They don’t know whether to squat or fly. And it’s no use to try to fly south in December. Even the heartiest goose can’t stand up to our charming wind once it starts howling. They just get blown back to Huerfano.
Up in Denver, geese are either a little more lazy or they just know better. Millions of them don’t even bother flying south. They just hang around on golf courses leaving their smeary calling cards on the greens, or in parks where gangs of them chase down little kids who have stale bread in their hands.
The ones that eventually make it south start getting a hankering to fly north a few weeks after they arrive. That’s because we will be having one of our “fake springs,” and their relatives on the golf course will send them a letter saying how beautiful the weather is – that’s right around March 1, before the really big snows. You hear them coming, off in the distance. “Are those geese?” you say to your spouse. Sure enough, they’ll be honking that goose noise they make, which means, “Outta my way – summer’s here!” Then they hit the wind known the world over as the Huerfano Stream. And BLAM! What’s that? – they’re thinking – I thought it was summer. They’ll be huddled in a snow drift, and the wife goose in her best whiny voice will be saying to the husband goose, “I TOLD you it was still winter. Didn’t I tell you, Morty it’s not summer yet. But will you listen to me? NO.”