Olivia was a Canada goose, brought to me by my friend Cindy, (Healing with Horses), after her mother and siblings were killed by a fox. A metamorphosis from wispy juvenile to glamorous adult captivated all of us who watched her grow up that summer. Eventually, the time came for her to join her species in the wild, but not before stopping by for a final farewell. Today's excerpt from Finding My Way to Moose River Farm brings closure to my encounter with a most exquisite creature.
Winter arrived and although I thought of Olivia from time to time, I did not obsess over her. The permanent residents of my barn kept me busy and fulfilled with plenty of animal care. Olivia was a pleasant memory.
One early morning the next spring, I heard a familiar honking sound out on the lake as I headed up to the barn to feed the horses. With a hopeful heart I changed course and headed down to the front lawn with a can of cracked corn. Gliding toward the dock was a single Canada goose. It appeared to show excitement when I called to it and swam quickly toward me honking loudly. About ten feet from the dock, the goose stopped and would not come any closer. With handfuls of corn I tried to tempt it closer. Still it would not come.
Then in the late fall of that same year a flock of
landed in and passed by the dock on a
Saturday afternoon. My husband, Rod alerted me to their arrival and again with
a hopeful heart I ran down to the lakefront with the three goats in tow. The geese had no interest in me. However, when I called Olivia's name in the
familiar singsong way, one goose turned from the group and headed back towards
our dock. I pretended to throw corn into
the lake and the one goose swam more quickly toward me. As it approached I ran to the barn to grab a
container of real corn to offer the one interested goose. Sixth Lake
When I returned to the lakefront it was apparent that the goose was more interested in what I had to offer than following its companions. They had traveled quite a distance and were still moving swiftly to the other end of the lake. The goose with me again approached within ten feet of our dock where I tossed generous handfuls of cracked corn. It would not come any closer but honked a number of times at me as I sang her name. After several minutes of feeding, the goose finally turned to follow the others who, by now, had traveled very far down the lake. Sitting on the dock, I kept a vigil on the goose until it became a small black speck undistinguishable from the others in the flock.
As I watched, I remembered the summer that she came to us and for the first time I realized that her rehabilitation was complete. She had slipped out of nature's plan only temporarily to charm, endear and educate us. In return we had kept her safe so that she could grow up and return to her niche in the wild where she most definitely belonged. Then, she had returned, briefly, just to let me know that all was well and to show me what a beautiful creature she had become in the wilderness.
Oliva provided a unique experience when my sister's children visited.