Friday, February 8, 2008

Touch down~

I was leaving the house on-time-for-work, but last-minute-not-quite-time-to-stop-for-a-coffee-time. But I WOULD stop anyway.

Admiring the frosting of snow on the branches and fences, I drove, past a cornfield in its winter mode: stubble poking up through the dusting of snow.

I looked for my geese; they touch down daily in this field. There they were.

But something was wrong. Three men walked among them. And a dog. My geese remained relaxed, calm, docile. Beyond docile. They were statue-like. Motionless.

Dead? No, some were standing.

I had my camera, and impulsively-- on time for work, be damned-- I pulled over and walked across the field toward the men. I could see the men were picking up my geese and moving them.

Something was wrong. The geese seemed stunned, or drugged. It was an eerie scene from a distance.

"Hello," one of the men walked toward me, raising his voice to be heard. "Can I help you?"

"I write for a paper," I shouted back. "What's going on?" I no longer write for the paper, but if there was a field of dead geese I would come up with something.

"We're hunters," he said. "We're setting up. In a minute you're going to see a whole lot of geese coming in."

I blinked at the surreal setting. A field full of decoy geese; some standing, some like brooding hens. A waggy-tailed dog snuffling among them. Three men. And me, camera hanging around my neck.

"Oh, hunters, " I said." Are you far enough from the houses to hunt here?"

He said they were.

My geese would be coming in soon, fooled by a false flock. I wanted to stand and wave my arms in warning. Or just sit amidst the decoys in the muddy stubble. Would the men drag me off? Point their guns at me? Call the cops?

I had to get to work. I'd be late now for sure, but I'd still stop for coffee.
“Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter” ~African Proverb


leslie said...

I would not have wanted to see that, Ruth! I hope it didn't ruin your day.

Ruth D~ said...

Leslie~ Not a ruined day, but a cloud hovering. It's stayed with me.

Wanda said...

Oh that would be such an erie feeling. It's frustrating when you would love to do something...but can't. It's amazing the stories that greet us each and every day if we care to see them.

Thanks for this story, even though a sadness hit me as I read it.

Pauline said...

Catching up on your writings... loved the poignant one about your mom, the startle-ment of Killing Time and now this about the geese - do you know if yours are still safe?

Barbara said...

I sincerely hope they didn't come. I don't know how hunters can shoot such beautiful animals. Stories like this make me want to be a vegetarian.

Ruth D~ said...

Wanda~ It waseerie, because from the distance across the field, the decoys looked so real, but acted so wrong.

Pauline~ Thank you. I didn't see the geese in the field today. I don't know if hey'd all stay away if some were shot. Or maybe they never flew over? That would be nice.

Ross said...

False prophets, perhaps? Politicians?

Our wintering geese are coming up from the Fens right now, pausing in the North-East on the way to Iceland. Some go on to the Hudson Bay area of Canada.

Happily, they head for a very large bird sanctuary in the Coquet Estuary. They are fine creatures, I'd not be tempted to eat one.

Nice that at times we do become Rainbow Warriors!

Lisa said...

What a heart-stopping story that was. I hope your geese are all okay. :(

Tere said...

You hear about hunters all the time. Usually I think nothing of it. But this made it personal. Your geese. I hope they are okay.

Alice Folkart said...

I know who I want to hunt!

The need of men to hunt is some vestigal (don't care if it's misspelled) urge, as unnecessary to the body humane as is the appendix to the body human. When will people catch up with themselves?

Very pissed!