Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Off Topic: Emotional Triggers

The Canada Geese are back in Chicagoland.

In flight, in formation, they are beautiful birds.  My dad loved them so much that he had a rather depressing "realistic" painting of some in a typical winter field hung in the condo in Florida where he wintered.

As amateur art critics, my mother and I could have picked this painting apart like... a Christmas Goose. We never said a word.  To dad, somehow, the Canada Goose symbolized freedom and elegance in flight. As a boy, he was captivated by Charles Lindberg's solo cross-Atlantic feat.  And, I'll guess, he enjoyed the Canada Geese who foraged in the field behind the house that he and my mother built when I was a teenager.

If I enjoyed those winters, the recollection is long gone.  I remember freezing my butt off at the school bus stop in my high school days.  Instead, I remember the joy of hanging out, in cars, watching pretty girls in other cars, at Manners Big Boy, in summer.  Is American Graffiti evocative for men of a certain age, even if they grew up in Cleveland, OH?  Believe it.

My own first recollection of Canada Geese is the gawdawful mess they made of the shoreline of a small pond near the house my children were raised in, outside Minneapolis.  Bird shit everywhere.  Bovine-sized-bird shit.  The mommy geese, raising their... goslings, I guess... hissed at my own small children who approached them in inter-species appreciation.  The geese were also a huge pain in the ass as they crossed the roads on my rural-ish two-lane commute to and from work.  They, and their bipedal lovers, seriously interfered with my Mille Miglia fantasies.

My next memory of Canada Geese is from where I now live.  Until last winter, my house was on a small river.  Even though the neighborhood was a subdivision, it had a rural flavor because the land on the other bank was a flood plain.  The Canada Geese loved it.  They didn't symbolize freedom or elegance to me.  Their return in the fall symbolized the arrival of winter.

Now I live on a rise that aspires to be a knoll, half a mile or more from the river.  The Canada Geese are back today, in their noisy, honking, crowds.  They are to wildlife as Roman traffic is to the Mille Miglia. The leaves on the trees have just begun to turn.  The corn isn't even harvested yet.  S** of a b****!  The damned birds are back, which means winter can't be far behind.

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