I couldn't feel comfortable where I was at, knowing that frigid conditions existed outside where animals have to scrounge around for food, fight for a morsel, and caught in an endless search for sustenance. Geese are some of these animals who peck at the ground for tiny bits of food. And when the ground is covered with ice and snow, that means slim pickins for them even more.
Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I were driving home from a late lunch when she decided to drop by Shop Rite to get a few things. It was remarkable how well-fed we were and then we head for the supermarket to stock up on more food. I thought about the geese and the ducks at the county park, and how miserable they must be in these arctic conditions. I knew it was too late to drop by the neighborhood deli and ask---as I have done so before---for the bread that they no longer see fit to sell. It was already 430pm and the deli usually gives up the surplus bread in the mornings.
It was getting dark, and the park closes at sundown. I made my way towards the bread section of the supermarket, and a brand that was for $1.19 for a long loaf would cost only 89 cents with a Shop Rite card. Good enough. I took two loaves, paid for them, and sprinted for my car in the lot. Cars already had their headlights on, and I was hoping that the barricade wasn't up yet at the park entrance by the time I got there. I must admit that I gunned the accelerator, and in five minutes I went through the darkened driveway that led to the pond. A few park denizens remained, parked mostly by the public restrooms, all ready to leave right after they attend to their business. Soon, park security would be there to usher us all out for the night.
Winter froze the major part of the pond, but I found the geese and ducks paddling around in an inner water way that was still fluid. These guys knew the deal. They reacted quickly to my presence, recognizing from experience that a human being holding a bag is a feeder. As they scrambled out of the water and up a small rise, I started spreading the bread slices evenly among the population. Some of the smaller guys, or those out of position, shouldn't be left out. I made sure they got some too. In the end, I wished I had three or four loaves. Nevetheless, them geese and ducks had a small and much-needed snack before the even more frigid night fell.