Tuesday, September 27, 2011

the bully goose

pond at Crystal Springs, Sumi on paper

I took a break from my sketching to walk around the rest of Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. Mom was happily reading her book, so she stayed with our gear and I set off. I always admire the many birds at this park, and I took my time looking at Wood Ducks, Wigeons, Mallards, and various other ducks and geese.

As I came back to my starting point, I saw a flock of Canada Geese on the path between me and my mom. When I stumbled upon them, they all rushed into the nearby water and floated away with grumbles and honks. All of them, except for one goose. The non-Canada goose. He stood his ground.

I just wanted to get past him to my mom, and I thought it was silly that he didn't go into the water with the others. I stepped toward him, and swept my arms forward and said, "SHOO!"

He didn't shoo.

He put down his head, took a step toward me, and hissed.


Not what I expected. The Canadians seemed interested, too, and gathered near the edge of the pond to watch the action.

My bare legs were exposed in my shorts and the idea of a goose nip was not very appealing, but I still tried again. I stamped my foot, took a step forward, waved my arms, and shouted, "SHOO!"

The goose snaked his long neck toward me and hissed again. He owned this path and I could not get past him without a fight.

I am almost positive that I shrieked like a girl (hey, I am a girl!) before I turned about face and walked an alternate way on a different path to my mom and my gear. The detour wasn't far and it kept me from an unpleasant goose bite.

In this case, I "handled" the bully by avoiding him. 

In the seconds it took to make the decision, I determined that getting past the goose on the path with the risk of getting bitten was less desirable than the few seconds it took me to walk around. I still got to my desired destination and the goose got to own the path for a while. 

When we left, Mom and I walked the detour around the goose (who was still guarding the path). But, we stopped to observe a group of people who faced the same bully. They handled the situation differently than I did. They tried to shoo him away. Didn't work. Then, one by one, they walked past him. He did not nip at any of them, despite his hissing and aggressive threats. The entire group got past the bully goose on the path. It took 20 minutes.

How do you handle bullies? Do you avoid them, like I avoided the bully goose? Or, do you take the time to get past them without deviating from your own course?


SamArtDog said...

A friend once had a gang of four guard geese he called "The Beatles". They took their job seriously, unless they were having lunch.

William Cook said...

Wow! hilarious! I just watched "IP Man 2". It's about a martial arts instructor in post war China (Bruce Lee's teacher). When asked what to do if ten bullies threaten you he said, "run". You chose well. That's a delicious drawing.

Jan Yates, SCA, Canada said...

I loved reading this! my aunt had a 'guard goose' on her farm instead of a dog

you were alone and made the right choice

there is strength in numbers

***a VERY belated congratulations on your newest family member - your recent work brimming with such emotion.... your art sings gloriously..hallelujah!

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Sam: I've heard of guard geese, but this guy wasn't employed, just bossy!

William: it's a story that gets funnier the more time passes!

Jan: thanks so much! Looking forward to seeing more from your trip!!