withdraw your geese

Here’s a poem from the current issue of the magazine, First Things. I believe the author is A.M. Juster.

A Stern Warning to Canada / If you want peace, withdraw your geese.

  • I read in the National Post that in consideration of the state of the economy, some towns in the United States are allowing hunters two deer this fall. The idea is that hunters will take the second one to the local Food Bank. Suitably butchered and wrapped, I presume. Looking more less like something you’d buy in a supermarket. Well now, how about applying this precedent to the Canada Geese? My brother in Thunder Bay tells me they’re delicious. Where’s the woman with the long gun when you need her? Or what about a “prescribed goose shoot?” Our local parks and ravines hold “prescribed burns” every spring. They set fire to our city forest! It’s spectacular. The burns are part of the city’s continuing effort to restore the natural grasses – the Carolinian Oak savannah. We’re all pamphleted and warned; police and the fire department keep everything in order. So, how about it? A “goose shoot”?

  • George Breckenridge visited his childhood haunts in Scotland recently. Farming country. It looks more or less just as it did, he says. It’s just as beautiful. But there are fewer people. In the developed world of today we raise more food on less land, with fewer farm workers. Rural populations are shrinking. And happy animal populations are multiplying.

  • They’re not just multiplying. They’re following us into the cities. The geese are just one example. I visited our local high school recently to see a display by the Royal Botanical Gardens on proposed changes in their management. (In keeping with the best principles of populist democracy the RBG was informing and consulting local residents.) I learned that our city has a nesting pair of eagles, the first in 50 years. That there are indeed coyotes in the ravine park just across the road from my house. And that for the first time on record a martin has been seen. Martins, I understand, resemble minks. But much larger. Much. And we have Wild Turkeys, and Turkey Vultures. I don’t remember learning about these creatures when I was in grade school.

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