The Unlikely Tale of Goose and Duck

Goose and DuckOn a daily basis, my wife and I take our two-year-old for a walk through the neighborhood. Since this summer, a goose and duck have taken to living near a bridge on our regular route. What matter this duck and this goose, you ask? Let me explain.

Goose and Duck

I don’t know if you know much about ducks and geese. The thing is, geese live in flocks. There is one suck flock of geese near my home. You can see them in the picture below.GeeseIt seems pretty likely the lonely goose was a part of this flock at some point. Apparently, he/she has been ostracized by the rest of the flock earlier this year.

Ducks, on the other hand, don’t live in flocks. They pair off for one breeding season, usually. In the spring you see male ducks chasing female ones, sometimes into traffic or other dangerous situations (on a side note, male ducks could really use a #MeToo campaign).

Apparently, this spring, the stars aligned and Duck and Goose decided to live together. I don’t know if Goose is a male or female, but Duck is clearly male. Of course, the animal kingdom isn’t as picky about gender and racial barriers as we humans are, but the pairing is still unique.

They both clearly benefit, though. Goose is pretty aggressive, and doesn’t mind harassing passersby for food. The picture at the top of this post was taken while I was hurrying away with our baby carriage, while Goose and Duck chased me (at Goose speed). I also saw Goose nearly topple an old lady with a walker, while she was trying to feed him/her. In any case, it gets Goose a lot of food, which is shared with Duck.

The Dog Attack

If the tale of Goose and Duck had ended there, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post.

About a week ago, I came to the bridge where the two lived with my daughter. Instead of the chattering of a goose, I was greeted with silence. No Goose, and… well, some Ducks, but I don’t know if Duck was among them.

There was a note, stuck to the bridge. It began ‘Don’t worry, Goose will return! Goose is at the shelter.’ It turns out Goose had gotten so fat that he had gotten slow. So slow, that when a dog attacked him, he couldn’t flee in time. Goose had been taken to the bird shelter, where he had to stay to heal and lose some weight.

When I went out for a stroll this morning, I found both Goose and Duck were back at the bridge.

Nice story. But, so what?

Every day I read the news. There’s Syria, Trump, North Korea, #MeToo, and to top it off a never-ending stream of bad news about our environment. I’m worried that the world my potential grandchildren will live  in will be a dark polluted place filled with famine and war.

But sometimes there are rays of hope. Goose and Duck found each other, crossing boundaries of race and possibly gender. Not only that, when disaster struck, instead of finding a dead Goose at the bridge with a mourning Duck, there was a caring note. People care. It’s easy to forget sometimes, in the middle of all that negativity, but people do care.

So, that’s what I wanted to get across. Yes, Goose and Duck are a bit silly, and calling them a ray of hope is a bit of a stretch. Still, looking at the little positive things around you — however small — can’t hurt, now can it?

Martin Stellinga Written by:

I'm a science fiction and fantasy author/blogger from the Netherlands