Wildlife Photography | Canada Geese and a Sense of Community

What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Canada Geese and Community

The Canada goose is probably one of the most recognizable birds in the US. And, at lease on the East coast, I can’t think of another animal group that better represents family and sense of community. Family units stay together from summer through the winter and until they return to breeding grounds. It’s hard to believe that they were once threatened and required conservation efforts at the beginning of the 20th century.

I feel like family constantly redefines itself throughout one’s life. Maybe it’s just me. When I was young, family to me was my grandmothers, grandfather, my aunts, and my cousins. The extended family is what I most readily identified as what family was. Family was Fourth of July reunion bbq’s. It was birthday parties at grandma’s house. It was listening to my mom and aunts playing yahtzee at my grandfather’s kitchen table. Family was all of the generations sitting at the dining room table playing Balderdash and eating peppermint ice cream after Christmas dinner.

Then I left home, that familiar cozy Chicago suburb, for college. College was 9+ hours away, tucked in amongst the corn fields and smiling farmers. Family was re-defined during these years for me, and my family became my roommates, my friends, and my college mentors. I went from a large city where you can find food at any hour of the day or night to this tiny little town that shuts down completely for the weekend on Fridays at 5pm. Family to me was renting movies from the gas station with my roommates. Family was camping out in the biology lab with my comrades in knowledge-warfare to pull an all-nighter studying for a practical. Family was driving 20 miles to the next town to get ice cream with my friends. Family was those friends I leaned on when my grandparents passed away.

Now family is being redefined again. Family now is my sisters. Family is going home for Thanksgiving and watching my little niece show everyone her new pink rain boots and helping her put together the insect puzzle. Family is Face Timing in every Sunday night so that I can be there for family dinner, despite the miles between us. Family is trying to replicate all of my mother’s, grandmother’s and great grandmother’s favorite traditions.

Family is knowing that where ever life takes me, whatever impossibly-knotted life I may have and the insecurities I most likely carry…they will always have my back, they will always be there. They will always be family.

“Heroes didn’t leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand; they didn’t wear boots and capes. They bled, and they bruised, and their superpowers were as simple as listening, or loving. Heroes were ordinary people who knew that even if their own lives were impossibly knotted, they could untangle someone else’s. And maybe that one act could lead someone to rescue you right back.” (Jodi Picoult, Second Glance)

Share this post