The Story of the Girl begins with the posting on January 8th. My true account spans a four-year period from 2001-2005. This is the third and final chapter.
The Story of the Girl
Chapter Three continued
On close inspection, I noticed a slight curl on her right foot. She had suffered some minor frostbite on the webbing around her toes, but other than appearing a tad unsightly, it didn’t impede her movement in any way. After three harsh winters in the wild, a touch of frostbite was inevitable for a domestic goose.
I checked often, but did not see the Girl again until May. For the first time I found it difficult to track her whereabouts and knew this was further evidence of her becoming wild. Her tendency to hang around the dam had been replaced by a desire to stay with the flock. She had learned to find food and shelter from them and was no longer dependent on handouts.
By summer the flock chose to spend more time at the dam again and seeing the Girl swimming in the shallows was a reassuring sight. Sometimes, in the late afternoon, I arrived just as the flock had decided to gather on some cue, imperceptible to me, then rise up in unison and fly down river to nest for the evening.
The Girl recognized me as before and never failed to return my greetings with loud honkings of her own, but now she frequently ignored the corn I offered her because she had successfully adapted to the wild.
In the weeks that followed I visited the dam less often. Though looking after her had become a ritual I enjoyed and a labor of love, it was obvious that the Girl no longer needed me. In transforming herself from a kept, domestic goose to one that was wild and free, she had set me free as well.