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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
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Monday, April 07, 2008
The Canada Goose.
They look so graceful and serene when viewed from a distance...

But on my ride in this morning, I was attacked by one. Yeah, that's right - attacked.

To be sure, it was partially my own fault. The route I take to work involves going through wooded areas and park like settings - and through places that, by their quiet and by their access to water, would make an ideal place for a goose to lay a clutch of eggs. So it was this morning, that as I passed through a particularly treacherous area - there was still plenty of frozen water around - only a few inches deep, but covered in just enough ice that you could go over it - carefully - without crashing through. If one did crash through it wouldn't necessarily mean death - but it would probably mean a wet, very cold ride, the rest of the way to work in temperatures that are below freezing.

So as I passed through this particular area, I had my head down, my eyes on the wheels and the ice - and that is probably why I didn't notice the irate avian sooner. To be sure, I had slowed my pace considerably in order to navigate with through the area in higher (more torque) gears. It wasn't until a rather louder than expected whooshing sound caused me to look up that I noticed, some ten feet in front of me, and about a foot off the ground - a very angry goose.

I would like to say that it's eyes were glowing red, but I promised myself I wouldn't embellish the story, it's eyes were cold and black - almost lifeless. The kind of cold deadness born of some dark, unspoken, purpose... I scarcely had time to notice however, because, after all, I was cycling right at it, and it right at me.

At first I thought I had startled the poor thing, and that it was flying at me in a panic. I have seen this happen many times in the past. I used to work cutting timber in "the bush" (that's Canadian for forest), and one of the jokes we would play on newbies is we would cut down a tree close to them - nothing too big - and angle it so that it would fall right on them. Then we would give it a push in their direction, and yell at them to get out of the way.

Now logic (and some math) would tell you that the tree is going to fall at such and such a rate, and that the easiest way to avoid getting hit by the falling tree is to side step it. But that is not what happens. Instead the wide-eyed newbie, gripped by sudden "flight or fight" panic, and realizing that there is no fighting a falling tree - immediately breaks into a run. Where do they run? Why they run away from the falling tree. But as the tree is tall, and accelerating as it falls - they find that they cannot outrun the tree, and it falls on them.

We all laugh at them at that point - because, had they calmly taken three steps perpendicular to the line the tree was falling on, they would have had plenty of time to get out of the way, pick up their water jug, and maybe even take a bit of some jerky. But instead - they run in a panic - away, away, away from danger - and for some dark reason, the rest of us find that hysterical.

Yeah, I know its cruel, but those who live through such an experience (They did it to me when I started), learn quickly that panic can kill you in the bush. So you take the hard lesson, get made a fool of - but in doing so you learn, and you learn quick.

So I say, I see the thing flying right at me, and I presume that in its panic it has leapt into the air, and is only seemingly charging at me with white hot fury in its cold black little eyes. So when it clobbers into me (they weigh more than you would expect), I feel sort of bad for the thing. Poor, frightened, goose - that's what I would have thought to myself, if the adrenal rush weren't beginning to take effect. .. In a heart beat it is past me, but I still hear the whooshing? For a second I am concerned that perhaps it has become entangled in my helmet or jacket, so I glance into my itty, bitty mirror - the one attached to my helmet that sort of looks like a star-trek cyborg thing, and all I see is goose. In that very second many things happened simultaneously.

At once I understood that the goose was not merely frightened, but was actually attacking me. I was being attacked by a wild, albeit fluffy and harmless looking, animal. I realized also that there was precious little I could do about it, being, as it were, that I was still trying to maintain my balance on a path that was alternately snow, ice, gravel, mud, broken pavement - all of which had been frozen into a hazardous series of frozen, tire-gripping, ruts.

I actually cried out at that moment. Not so much out of terror, though to my shame, there may have been a bit of that (who wants to admit to being -even momentarily- frightened by a goose?), but out of stunned disbelief. I think I said something like "Get out of here!" Not meaning that I was giving an imperative to the goose, ordering it to remove itself from the vicinity, not an imperative to myself, as though I were giving instructing to my body (Feet! move!) - no this was a wonder filled, almost questioning, interjection - not unlike saying, "... nO ... wAy ...! "

I added the mixed case to try and emphasize the way you would be saying that - you know in that very emphatic, "television sit-com" sort of way. Only when I said it, there may have been some shrill hysteria mixed in too. It was a time of sudden stress, and frankly, I am just happy I didn't wipe out.

Anyway, after following me at shoulder height and pummeling me with it wings for a bit, it broke off the chase. I was quite amazed though, and began to pray almost immediately - thanking God for the bizarre experience, and already planning an alternate route home. I don't expect it will keep to that nesting area too long - enough traffic goes through there (dogs and foxes too) that the clutch won't last long.

It was however, so out of the ordinary, I thought I should mention it. First commute of the year, and already I am counting how many flying things have abused me. Normally it is just bugs and the occasional flying dog - but this was too much.

The whole story is true too, except for the flying dogs.

Labels:

posted by Daniel @ 9:45 AM  
11 Comments:
  • At 11:12 AM, April 07, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    Did I mention it was eerily silent throughout the whole attack? Not even a honk.

     
  • At 11:18 AM, April 07, 2008, Blogger rebecca said…

    Out of the ordinary indeed!

    in "the bush" (that's Canadian for forest)

    As a transplanted American, I love using the phrase "in the bush." It sounds so wild and adventuresome.

     
  • At 11:41 AM, April 07, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    I am only just learning that it isn't an universally understood term.

     
  • At 11:51 AM, April 07, 2008, Blogger bugblaster said…

    I once tried to hit my brother with a tree I was felling. 8" diameter at the base... it would have killed him. Mom liked him best, and I resented it. He ran out of the bush wailing. My dad took the chainsaw away. In hindsight, setting a goose on him would have yielded a better reward/effort ratio.

     
  • At 11:56 AM, April 07, 2008, Blogger Jim said…

    That was too funny Daniel, those geese are no small birds.

     
  • At 12:11 PM, April 07, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    Neil - we live and learn...

    Jim, the males are the ones who stay and protect the clutch - and they typically grow to about 14 pounds, with a near six foot wingspan - though larger ones can get as big as 18 pounds and have a wingspan of almost eight feet.

    It is hard to say because it happened too quickly, but this one seemed at least to be a large male - between 12 and 15 pounds or so.

    Either way - I though I was not terribly surprised by the aggression, I was surprised by the pursuit. You just don't imagine the thing will try and chase you after you have passed it.

    It was adrenally amusing.

     
  • At 10:08 PM, April 07, 2008, Blogger Strong Tower said…

    Rabid Canadians are common around here. Large numbers winter/summer here. They're fond of mobbing old ladies and making off with their poodles.

    Oh and did I mention we have geese here too?

    Possessed geese, and the Winnipeg demoniac. I read that somewhere.

    You see what happens is the spirit of anewbie enters a goose to seek vengence on the "old" guys.

     
  • At 9:10 AM, April 08, 2008, Blogger R. D. Bailey said…

    don't avoid the geese. just find a couple of good side dishes. I recommend garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed green beans with bacon.

     
  • At 9:48 AM, April 08, 2008, Blogger ThirstyDavid said…

    What a great story. A friend of mine has a similar turkey story. Big birds can be vicious.

     
  • At 11:14 AM, April 08, 2008, Blogger Strong Tower said…

    Big birds can be vicious.

    Especially the sabre-toothed ones...

     
  • At 8:46 PM, April 17, 2008, Blogger Rose~ said…

    Daniel! I needed that. Thanks for sharing. I am glad I am not the only one who those kinds of things happen to - those flying dogs just kill me.

     
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