Miss gander

The Gander

The other day I dyed my hair in bright blue and purple feather highlights. It was my response to the nation’s 9/11 crisis. Hardies have a kind of shopping mentality. At least I haven’t started bingeing. Not yet, anyway. I love hair. I went to my friend’s office building to show him how crazy his friend was; To spread a little cheer on days so heavy and gloomy. I came across more than I bargained for.

My friend’s office is located in Mercer Slough in a park-like setting. It is a secluded and quiet area right on the southern edge of Washington’s second-largest city. I parked the car and started to approach the large glass doors of the office. There in the lobby was a huge live Canadian spectator honking in front of me!

My center of attention sank to the core of my heart as I listened to her story. She was very talkative and had a lot to say. His right wing was horribly deformed. She showed me her disability. When it spread its wings and flapped those immense feathered structures, its wings were normal. All feathers fell in line and looked normal. But something was wrong. Right in the central span where the wing “Vs” are, a large section had been split in two. His arm bone had been broken back somehow and this important part was left hanging at first, and now it had become firm but misshapen. It showed when he closed his wings.

I didn’t say anything as I tried not to stare in mutilated fascination. You know how we can’t take our eyes off blind eyes. We want to see what a blind eye looks like. It is of a different color. Or how we want to look at someone who is tied to a wheelchair. We want to see what paralysis looks like. Or how it attracts us to observe the belly and the butt of the obese. We are curious what fat looks like. We do all of these things naturally. We can see how natural it is for children. We have a human need to validate our internal checklists on ourselves. Most of us are all so innately insecure. “Am I more normal than this or that person?” “Do I belong MORE?” These are the ruthless questions of humans that we forget we must tame. We forget who is at the center of that distorted thought process. The Evil One is not the one who is not normal and does not fit in and is the least among us. We forget this, often.

Either way. I look. I can’t help it. She still honks her horn at a mile a minute. I find her beautiful. I’m curious because I can’t understand why I feel like this when I look at her. She is big. Too big to be feminine. She is muted in color. Gander geese are gray and brown and dirty creams. Your bill is completely wrong. It is too spread out on your face. And too thick. She just doesn’t need that much beak and mouth to eat grains and insects or whatever geese eat.

His eyes are black and shiny. And then there is the matter of your feet. Oh my God! Orange! And wide and WEBBED of all things. And nails so sloppy. The poor thing is the tip of a dove to boot. She wiggles as we walk together down the path to the main office. He has a good size chest. It is good to have breasts for presentation and posture. His tail is wagging correctly. Its tail feathers are wound at the ends and finish it off to perfection. But that mutilated deformed wing is of all prominence. It must not be covered or camouflaged. She is disabled. She can not fly.

That’s the short. That’s what has been yelling at me. You cannot join the others when they leave during the winter months. You will have to make Mercer Pond, here, your home among the water lilies and reeds. I pray for her out loud. Right there in the front doorway. I say: “May you be free from suffering, may you know your greatest peace.” She visibly relaxed. Its long, thick neck descends. I wonder if he will attack me or what. No, that’s not all.

He has lowered his head to receive my blessings. She cocks her head and gestures for me to follow her. Start talking about the blue colored hair dye streaks in my hair. He has mistaken them for feathers. She thinks we could be birds of the same plumage for a season. That’s what you want to talk to me about. She is taking me on a tour of her kingdom. She shows me that it is a fairly safe and isolated area. He shows me the picnic bench at the back of the building near the swamp. There are willows that lean and caress us. She points out that they are a wonderful refuge from the rains. He introduces me to some of his cousins. I watch my step.

A couple of business suits storming the side doors on their cell phones. We stand firm. The one is downright hostile towards us. He disdains that I am praying and chatting with a fool. He openly does not like the goose. Stop talking on your cell phone long enough to explain to me that this goose is confused and doesn’t know that it doesn’t belong in their building or so close to them. She doesn’t know how to go to the bathroom either, she explains. I see my new friend respond. She is silent as a stone to him. Then he does a bowel movement all over the sidewalk and waddles into the grass. I like her. In fact I think I love her. That is why she seems so beautiful and special to me, she is one of God’s creatures and I love her. She is doing her best to make the most of the bad circumstances she has found herself in. Who could not love her? I see the suit go by and wonder what is wrong with it. I think he is the disabled one among us. The goose honks in agreement. She loves me again.

I apologize and go to visit my friend. He is a friend who makes me happy and enlightens my spirit. I made him laugh today. He needed me. Left. The silly goose is waiting for me IN the lobby! Finish her tour and pitch for me to join her for the season. I gently explain that I am simply not a silly goose and that I am a bird of a different feather. I promise I will visit her often and next time “WE’LL LUNCH”. I will try. Turns out, you’re craving a mint mocha latte. I will remember that. It is a simple request for me. She walks me to my car.

I think it is wonderful that he has come to terms with his surroundings. She will be fine and I suspect that she will have the company of other kindred spirits when she returns for our next meeting. With your type of spirit and personality, how could you help find others to share with?