A teenager … and a wild goose

Lucy turned 13 yesterday! My baby is a teenager.

To her great joy, she received some clothes from L.L. Bean. Though she’s been privileged to own only a couple of Bean items in the past, they’ve made a huge impression. Lucy is now a devoted Beaniac. She reads their catalog cover to cover, evaluates their advertising slogans, scrutinizes their website, and reads reviews of all their new offerings. I think she could tell you the thread count in their sheets. At thirteen Lucy thinks she would like to be a product tester for L.L. Bean someday. Hiking, cross-country skiing, kayaking: what a great job that would be! Moreover, it would take her to Maine, which from their catalog appears to her to be the ideal place to live.

Here’s my girl in her new L.L. Bean fleece-lined overshirt and flannel-lined jeans (and peace symbol earrings from Jon). She has declared the shirt the most comfortable piece of clothing she’s ever owned. She intends to have one for the rest of her life.

It snowed all day. DH had bought her two horse paperbacks so Lucy put on Christmas carols (“It’s my birthday!”) and spent the dark afternoon snuggled up in her new cozy shirt, reading happily.

*   *   *

I was feeling a bit nostalgic and sad when I went down to the farm for evening chores. To my surprise I had a visitor. A miniature wild goose was walking nervously around my barn. I’d never seen this kind of goose before. (The photo at left is not my goose but looks just like it, if you picture snow on the ground.)

At first glance it appeared to be a Canada goose that had been shrunk in the dryer and lost its white throat cravat.

I love sighting “new” birds. I know this sounds bizarre but to me they are always gifts to me from a benevolent God with the help of my late mother, who loved birds and taught me to love them too. So my reaction is always to beam.

When I got out of the truck, the bird spooked and sprang into the air, but circled high overhead and came right back.

He dabbled in the snowy mud around the barn anxiously, very small and very alone. A lone goose seems as naked and pathetic as a lone sheep. I guessed he was a juvenile who had somehow been separated from his flock. I stood there in the snowy slush, smiling foolishly and doing my best to memorize his markings until I could get home to my Sibley’s.

After chores I looked him up. He was a Brant, and his lack of neck ring indicated he was indeed a juvenile. Brants are saltwater birds. They breed in the Arctic tundra and winter in estuaries along the eastern seaboard. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Brants merely fly over the Adirondacks in their fall migration. However, hunting season for Brants started here October 2.

Poor little guy. He’d never even been to the coast and already he was lost, probably shot at. (I know plenty of hunters and they’re fine people, but my heart was prejudiced at a very early age by Thornton Burgess and The Adventures of Poor Mrs. Quack.)

The Brant was gone this morning. I hoped he was on his way to the Connecticut shore, slipping safely between shots from the Terrible Guns.


One Response to A teenager … and a wild goose

  1. Jody HB says:

    Happy Birthday to Lucy! Sounds like she had a Wonderful Day. We’ve been thinking of her and just now returned from Parents weekend or we would have called. Please give her our love and birthday wishes!

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