Our neighborhood has a “fitness trail” that, miracle of all miracles, is NOT paved. Instead, it’s finished with what my college coach called “chat” – the very small, kitty litter style of gravel. The trail winds around what the realtors call a lake (but is actually a medium-sized pond) and is nearly a mile long. It’s great for adding a little extra distance to a workout and for running intervals.
The pond is home to approximately 168,273 turtles, 1809 dead tree stumps, and 15 fish (to the dismay of the optimistic fisherpeople). It is also the vacation home for varying types and numbers of avian life. In the mornings, you can find Frasier Crane looking for breakfast. He especially prefers hazy mornings, which make him appear mysterious and dignified.
The ducks occasionally double date but usually arrive one pair at a time. They’re the good neighbors of the pond – they’re very polite and keep to themselves, but will warn the others if an especially scary dog (or strange, running girl) is sighted. We normally have two pairs of ordinary ducks (mallards?), one pair of larger, white ducks, and a new couple that recently moved into the neighborhood. I don’t know what species they are, and I’m going to have to either look it up or go take a picture (highly unlikely since I never charge the camera battery) because they’re hard to describe. I will just say that they are different yet still very duck-like and leave it at that. Side note: Anyone else wondering how many times I can write the word “duck” in one post? 😉
Then there are the geese. Canadian geese. They’re more like an infestation, a bird posse. They come in packs of 10-40, and where the ducks chatter quietly, the geese squawk. And hiss. And make this funny growling noise. Their favorite hobby is to camp out ON THE FITNESS TRAIL and then act like I’m the one trespassing when I try to run by. I’ve tried reasoning with them. “Do I ever bother you when you’re getting your workout in the pond? How about if you show me the same courtesy?” I’ve tried bribing them. “Hey geese, remember me? How’s about some nice, tasty stale bread in exchange for uninhibited access to the trail?” No dice. They sit there, like the black knight in Monty Python, saying…
NONE SHALL PASS.
I know at this point that someone is probably rolling their eyes and calling me a big baby. I ask you, have you ever tangled with a goose? How about a goose posse? These beasties are large and in charge — with hard, pointy beaks and large, scary, kick-the-snot-out-of-you feet. And do you remember the hissing? The funny growling noise? It’s unnatural, I tell you. And remember that Gilmore Girls episode where Jess got beaked by a goose and got a black eye? TOTALLY PLAUSIBLE.
In Gilmore Girls, Jess seeks vengence with a ladle. Me, I can’t see myself running with a ladle. First of all, because my neighbors already think I’m weird enough with the whole running thing. I don’t need to associate the weird running with the weird running accessory. It’s a little much. Second, like Luke in GG, I wouldn’t want to waste a perfectly good ladle. Besides, my ladle is plastic, and wouldn’t cause much damage anyway. Another side note: I really wouldn’t ever hurt an animal. Not even a really, really, really mean one.
So, what do I do? I take the coward’s way out – I go around.