The story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all. ~Frederick Buechner

Goose Herding

Photo by Wally Bytnar

Six baby geese hatched high up, living precariously on the edge of the Weiss Hospital rooftop. Because it can take anywhere from 2–3 months until they learn to fly, there is a net that extends the perimeter. In years past falling geese have not fared too well—a liability for parents building a nest inaccessible to predators. The goslings are looked after by various gardeners who maintain “lots” or raised beds on the roof.

Wally and Linda help out by feeding them and making sure they have water, but soon they will outgrow the rooftop. They need to get on dry land. So a call goes out to the JPUSA community: We need goose herders!

Several families answered that call and volunteered to herd the chicks. First Linda goes down the steps followed by mom and dad followed by the gaggle followed by another gaggle of children with Wally bringing up the rear. They all make it to street level through the emergency room parking lot and across to the park where they need to waddle beneath the viaduct under Lake Shore Drive. Finally they are in the park!

But still not home. The goslings still need to be guided to water. So across the soccer fields where players dodge the geese to the running path where joggers weave around the goose family. Soon they are at the harbor where one, two, three geese jump in, then numbers four and five hop in. The sixth hesitates. It probably seems a great height to a baby goose; the water is a long way down. But it gets its courage and on webbed feet pushes off and lands belly down.

Everyone cheers.

Jane Hertenstein
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