A goose flew down from Canada for the winter.
The first thing he spotted was a single mom with a sizeable brood.
Mr. Goose went about wooing Mama Muscovy with whirligigs and slalom-skids and flybys.
Then one quiet moment when she was dutifully impressed he leaned over and popped the question.
Okay, so maybe it was just rogue hormones kicking in but he took her under his wing, so to speak, and insisted on helping raise the kids as if they were his own.
Alas, Mr. Goose was unaware that mild winters attract all kinds of ruffians and ne’er-do-wells to Florida too.
Sinbad was a gypsy-drifter from Romania with no discernible skill except that he was an expert at disguising his intentions.
He could wait silently and patiently and blend into the background for hours on end.
He had a pedophile’s lust for the young and a gourmet’s appetite for the plump.
He never bothered you until he did – and that was the problem.
At first Sinbad’s modus operandi was to belly-flop into the lily pads like any casual tourist might do if they were just out for a look-see.
But when he flew away there was always one less playmate for the siblings to tease.
By my reckoning – and my math isn’t much better than Mama Muscovy’s – 16 ducklings dropped a whoppin’ 75% in less than a week! I was able to gather the final four together for one last family portrait.
Sinbad’s tactics quickly took an ominous turn for the worse. He had honed his evil eye and developed an addict’s taste for the forbidden, and stealth and cunning now seemed superfluous. He would barge in like a home invader and snatch a kid right out from under his parents’ eyes.
Four siblings became three in the blink of an eye.
Incredibly, three became one when Sinbad snatched TWO in one fell swoop.
I don’t normally take sides in Nature’s battles, but I found myself very much rooting for this last duckling – for her to be that “one child born [in] a world to carry on” as Laura Nyro (RIP) or BS&Tears would say.
Papa Goose made a defiant last stand, although his resigned expression betrayed a mixture of sadness and impotence.
Mama Muscovy was not optimistic either, and seemed preternaturally resigned to the inevitable.
There are, of course, no happy endings in the Wild.
In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.
- Robert Frost -