When you are the bad guy…


In the news lately, Bella Vista (a small town close to the Missouri border) residents have been divided on what to do about the large population of Canada Geese that have taken up residence in their town. In fact, the flock loves the golf course.

This magnificent Canada Goose raised its wings and awed me with the breadth of his wingspan yesterday. Until then the enormity of the issue had not hit home because, as typically happens with us humans, it wasn’t in my back yard and it was just a news item that I noticed. This goose is part of a large population of mixed fowl, consisting of ducks and geese of all sizes and colors, that have taken up residency at a local park in Springdale.

When large populations of birds like these Canada Geese, or immigrants from other lands, decide to settle in an area, locals tend to get unnerved and want to do something about it. Like Bella Vista, wanting to move the Geese out of their town and trying to decide what is the best method. Do they allow hunters to come in and kill them, or use dogs to run them off? Their latest effort is two large fake black swans sitting in the lake; supposedly that is some kind of deterrent.

The beautiful bird pictured above spoke volumes to me yesterday about what it must feel like to be the bad guy in town; when your presence creates a nuisance for the local population. Yet, this bird and his flock need a home, too.

How people respond has always fascinated me. On the one hand you have folks who feel it is important to give the new guys in town a helping hand and then there are those that say, “Shoot them all and let God sort them out.”

Different cultures and lifestyles, or large flocks of birds that take claim to a lake in a local park, tend to be misunderstood. They become the object of distrust due to the lack of understanding and wear out their welcome, and lines are drawn that create strife and sometimes violence. As I watched these different varieties of fowl, fights broke out often as one species would wander into an area on the lake that had been staked out by another.

Many years ago I believed that only humans didn’t get along. Watching this flock has again reinforced what I finally became aware of that countered what I believed about this subject. To divide and conquer, the strongest survive, this is my area of the pond attitude is pervasive throughout all of this earth–on the human and animal level.

With all of the imbalance in every area of life, from the taking of lands over by development where these flocks once flourished to the war and famines that drive immigrants to new lands, situations like these birds in Bella Vista will increase.

How we deal with it is going to define us for future generations. With this political season heating up I have to also add that I see the same kind of attitudes expressed by these fowl on the lake, taken by the so-called leaders of our country. For the first time I do not want to vote; none have shown me they have the country’s, or the world’s, best interest at heart. I keep hoping for change. Then realize again, change happens in us and spreads out. Once again I realize it starts with me. And you. And you…

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