"For Whom The Goose Flies"

"Die like a man, fly like a goose." (Zes Hoo)


Some of us older, perishable folks tend to forget that our demise could be nearer than we think it is; that now might be time to contemplate what's next, once it's over. By which time we might be too old to imagine anything else but a decent burial blessed by a mediocre memorial-service. As for me, I prefer the idea of reincarnation with a twist: coming back to earth as a different being. Not as another person, of course, no. I've decided that in my next life I'll show up as a "Branta Canadensis", meaning a Canada Goose. Here's why.


There are a few things I very much have in common with the Brantas, one of them being a strong craving for coastal waterways, peninsular bays and lakes. Those big birds enjoy some of the best bodies of water, and for good reasons. Take a bath, swim a while, paddle around, stick your head below, look at old tires, bottles, some fish; nibble on weeds, squawk a bit. Sure beats resting in peace six feet under.


Eating is big with Branta Geese, and since they are predominantly vegetarians, they favor better lawns and gardens everywhere. Just recently a bunch of them landed in my place to feed on the tender tips of my best Kentucky Blue grass. Next day, they fertilized my lawn by means of their prodigious digestive system, then left again. A couple of weeks later, my well-manured turf showed new signs of growth. I was tempted to taste the fresh crop but couldn't quite stomach the aroma. For now I just smoke the stuff while waiting to join the Brantas in my next life.


Last not least, I like the Brantas' frequent-flyer program. Just think. You just watered your belly in a sun-lit pond for an hour or so. You then helped yourself to the daily treat of lush greenery, and soon thereafter nature's call gets answered. Next, you get ready to join the flock of feathered aviators for take-off into the skies. There are all kinds of short excursions to selected gourmet hang-outs, and twice a year you go on long-distance trips down south or back north.


What's more, you're blessed with two strong, well-plumed wings on a good body, a long neck sporting a fist-sized head that is home to a state-of-the-art navigation-system the size of a hazelnut. Add to that the routine of V-shaped flight-formation in favorable weather, plus the geographic scenery some three thousand feet below you. It so blows your mind, and there's nothing to stop you from screeching with sheer ecstasy while well underway to better pastures.


So let's face it: life after death can't get any better. Swim, eat, purge and fly. Go Branta, and I'll see you up there. Just like that.