Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Girl Story Chapter 3 Continued

(photo by L. Bolick)

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

The summer passed quickly with few sightings of the Girl at the dam. I was relieved to see her there in September and October, knowing that hunting season for migratory waterfowl had already begun, and living with Canada Geese meant that the Girl was as much a target as they were. I saw her again in November, but I knew it would not be long before the flock moved to their winter location, wherever that was. It had to be nearby because, like all domestic geese, the Girl lacked the wingspan and endurance to fly long distances.

As 2005 began, I should have expected the worst, but like so many New Englanders, I was unprepared for the tremendous amount of snowfall to come. Meteorologists declared January alone, with more than 53 inches of snow on the ground, to be the snowiest in 113 years.

Arctic cold and wind chills well below zero ushered in what seemed like an endless succession of frigid nights. As always, I thought of the Girl and wondered how she was managing in this, her fourth winter in the wild. I took comfort in the knowledge that she was with her flock and had learned the skills to survive.

By March, I was restless and eager to look for the Girl. I had circled the 6th on my calendar and when the day came, I drove to the dam. When I did not find her, or any other waterfowl, I thought little of it. I continued to check every week or so for the rest of March, April and May, but without success. By June, a few Mallards had returned, but no geese. It was puzzling; in four years I had not witnessed such a dearth of waterfowl at the dam.

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