GNN: One Job

Goose News Network (GNN)

On this sunny Tuesday February March morning, Mother Goose, AKA Rosemary, was sitting atop her nest. Which is good, because you have one job, Rosie

Despite my respectful distance, Rosie’s glare was unmistakable. She was on high alert.

We parked halfway down Rosemary’s median strip; other cars had already filled in. But where was Big Daddy?


Papa Goose – let’s call him Joseph – was the whole way over by the garage, pretty far from the nest. For sure, more than honking distance. I postulate that Joseph was giving Rosie some space. Because he’s been through this before with her, he knows the only right answer when Mama is on the nest is, “Yes, dear. Absolutely. Whatever you say.” He okeydokes her, then slowly backs away.

I’ve been pregnant three times, and while I am sure it doesn’t quite equate to sitting on a nest full of eggs, I don’t blame Rosie for becoming snappish. Do her feet get pins and needles? Or cramps? Do her hips hurt? (Do geese even have hips?) I’d be grouchy, too, if all I could do was just sit there. BORING. All that waiting and sitting and waiting and sitting and nothing is happening, but her instincts dictate that she cannot ever leave, because she has to protect those eggs from the big loud machines that come and go and also from the mammals that hurry by.

So, I’m giving Joseph the benefit of the doubt. He knows when his woman needs her space. He’ll check in shortly, once they’ve both cooled off a bit, to see if she wants anything – some ginger ale, maybe, or perhaps a cup of tea.

Joseph has one job, too.

Friends of the GNN, I will not be visiting our avian friends between March 7 and 17. Reports will resume the week of March 18. If any of you have occasion to take Metro from Shady Grove, do plan on parking in the front lot outside the larger (“new”) garage and report back!


The Goose News Network

About a year ago, in a busy parking lot at Shady Grove Metro station, I noticed a goose sitting in the median. It seemed like she was always there when I went to park. Sometimes, there was another goose too, either next to her or nearby, on the asphalt. He cast menacing glances my way. I was like, dude, back off, I’m just trying to park right here, by this other goose. Relax.

It finally dawned on me, after a few days, that this was a mama goose, sitting on her nest of eggs! And the other goose must be the proud papa.

(I can sometimes be a slow learner. Don’t judge.)

I started posting snapshots a few times a week to my Facebook page. A friend (thanks, Marcy!) suggested I call these updates the GNN: Goose News Network. And thus, a Thing was born.

The goose sat there in the median from March into early April. She weathered snow and rain. Mama was always on the nest, and her baby-daddy (I guess?) hovered nearby. She sent him out get her food to fulfill her cravings. He dropped off her drycleaning and put gas in her car. I anthropomorphized them. I grew kind of attached. And as I shared my observations with my Facebook friends, I amassed a bit of a following.

One morning in April, I saw baby fluffy chicks! Then a day or two later – they were gone, leaving behind a down-lined crater about the size of the hole in my heart. I had grown somewhat attached to this bird family. I was concerned for their welfare – after all, they had made their home in the median of a busy parking lot. But the parents took care of their babies, and off they went.

So you can imagine how giddy I was yesterday when I noticed that mama goose was back, and big daddy was standing sentry nearby! I walked by, not too close (she hates that) but close enough to grab a quick photo:

Mother Goose.
A mama goose settles onto her nest in the median of a busy parking lot.

I shared it to Facebook and quickly received many excited comments, and 100 likes. There’d have been 101 likes, though, if my mom was still around. She was quite tickled by my goose posts last year. If I went a few days without posting an update, she would ask about it.

And that’s why this year, mama goose shall be named Rosemary.

Also, since it’s a Thing again, I made a new graphic. I’ll post updates here this year, and share the link to Facebook.

Welcome back.

Goose News Network (GNN)

Of darkness and light

After having tolerated the required ritual of setting the clocks back every fall for the past however-many decades, you’d think I would be prepared for the end of daylight savings time. As the dreaded Sunday approaches, I prepare myself mentally.

ME (in a semi-convincing, soothing tone): Don’t worry! You’ll get used to it. Plus, you get an extra hour of sleep!

OTHER ME (snarling): Yes, but only on this one night, and that’s just not worth the tradeoff. You know it’s true.

ME (grasping): Oh, come on, but it’ll be light in the morning, and you know that makes it easier to wake up, right?

OTHER ME (going in for the kill): Sure, for a couple of weeks, then it’s dark when I wake up, too.

On and on goes my inner monologue. I do savor the extra hour of sleep (who doesn’t?), but that first Sunday afternoon of Eastern Standard Time drags, and just as I’m noticing the sun is setting in a totally different location off my back porch than it does in the summer, it quickly drops below the horizon, flipping off the lights on its way down. I find myself looking repeatedly at the clock starting around 5:00pm, wondering if it’s too early to go to bed. I mean, what’s the difference? The day is basically over, right?

After an endless evening, bedtime finally – mercifully – comes. I tuck in at a reasonable hour, congratulating myself for surviving the first short day. As the sun rises the next morning, so do I, and each morning after that for a couple of weeks, at first appreciating the early sunlight, then cursing it for accenting the streaks and smears on the inside of my windshield. But soon enough, both ends of my waking day lack daylight.

The darkness begins ever earlier each evening, which means commuting home from work in what would feel like the dead of night were it not for my fellow commuters, all of us vaguely disoriented by this shift in our routine. And thus it’s been since November 6 – one month ago. I keep thinking I’ll get used to the new daily rhythm, but I noticed last night that I was watching the clock again, waiting for it to strike ten so I could go to bed without admitting defeat.

You wouldn’t think the adjustment of the clock by one hour would make such a difference, but it does. I try not to wish my days away, because each one really is a gift, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t counting down to the winter solstice. Just before my alarm rings on Wednesday, December 21, we will cross the point at which we gain a minute or two of precious daylight each day. I’ll put my head down and charge into the new year, only to suffer through January’s many insults. And don't get me started on February (that bitch). At some point, though, I’ll notice it: It isn’t totally dark when I leave the office. And hey – the sun is right in my eyes during my commute again! These are signs of new life, of renewed hope. Can Springtime be far behind?

Until then, I’ll stubbornly use incandescent bulbs inside my house of the highest wattage I’m able to purchase. Damn the Light Bulb Police! I don’t care that they hog energy; I’ll pay for the extra burn in exchange for their warm, glowing light. Also, it’s fireplace season, and we have wood to spare, begging to be burned. And burn it we shall, and we will savor the warmth and light that only a fireplace in December can put forth.

It’s *only* 9:30pm as I finish this post. I’d crawl into bed except that I still need to do the dinner dishes and retrieve some clothes from the dryer. Those activities will distract me until a proper bedtime, and tomorrow I will begin again the cruel countdown to the solstice, at which point we are offered hope, and the promise of longer, brighter days in our near future.

First snow dec 2009 013