My Other Boyfriend

With Louis Goose | Hitchhiking to Heaven
A while back, Stewart came home from a trip and I told him I’d taken up with a guy down the street. My other boyfriend is a fat guy — big belly, skinny neck — though he weighs only 30 pounds. And he honks. Which makes sense, given that he’s a big domestic goose.

When Louis sees me coming down the street, he stands up, stretches his neck tall, and starts honking. When I come around the corner and see Louis standing far away on the grass, I sometimes start running to him, pretty much like a six-year-old would. He makes me happy that way.

Stewart met Louis once, and they were perfectly civil to each other. I’ve even introduced Louis to my parents, and that went well. But sometimes if I’m hanging out with Louis and he thinks someone is getting too close to me, he’ll unfold his wings to their full span (about five feet from tip to tip) and run at the invader, hissing and showing his fierce, tiny goose teeth. After the threat has passed, he’ll waddle back my way, honking with unmistakable pride.

I’ll often abandon Stewart after dinner to go visit Louis for half an hour or so. If it’s well into the evening, the geese will be settled on the grass, many of them already sleeping. Louis will start to close his eyes and drift off as I pet him. This always reminds me of something I learned during the years I lived with my bird, Luna: When a bird is comfortable enough to sleep within your reach, it means that bird considers you to be a gentle and trustworthy creature. Then you want to be that way all the time. Even if you repeatedly fail, you aspire to move through the world as a being who has earned the trust of sleeping birds. It helps me remember how I want to live my life.

Louis is going to move away soon. His owner’s father passed away and her brothers are determined to sell the family home. That means that Louis, half a dozen other geese, a score of chickens, and a straggling of ducks will find a new place in some other part of California, or maybe Southern Oregon. I’m not looking forward to the day they go.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

3 comments to My Other Boyfriend

  • Diane

    “When a bird is comfortable enough to sleep within your reach, it means that bird considers you to be a gentle and trustworthy creature. Then you want to be that way all the time. Even if you repeatedly fail, you aspire to move through the world as a being who has earned the trust of sleeping birds. It helps me remember how I want to live my life”

    I feel something very similar about earning the trust of traumatized cats and other animals. And there is a glorious transitional moment when these kinds of cats tap you gently with their paw to get your attention (or less gently to say they don’t like something you’re doing), but keep their claws sheathed.. ;)

  • Tara

    Hey, I just stumbled onto your blog and was having a bit of a look around : )

    I grew up with birds, absolutely love them. I can't wait to be living some place where I'll be able to keep one again. I had a particular cockateil growing up who loved me just about as much as I loved him. He could say my name, chase people on command, eat vegetables off my dinner plate, take showers with me, and when I walked home from school in the afternoon I could shout his name from two streets away and he'd scream until I came in the door.

  • [...] a post about Louis Goose from way back in 2008 (called My Other Boyfriend), I mentioned that my neighbor was going to have to move away. I dreaded that thought five years [...]

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>