Talk about déjà vu!
In mid-May 2012 at my all-time favorite beach on the Central Coast, I was surprised to encounter a family of four Canada geese — mom-and-pop proud parents of two newly hatched goslings enjoying their day floating and feeding in the tide pools dotting the rugged, rocky shoreline — an environment I didn’t know nesting Canada geese were particularly partial to. To view that very interesting video from 2012 (those goslings are forever adorable!), just CLICK HERE now.
In mid-May 2019 — seven years to the same month later at the same spot on the same beach — what did I spy again waddling about the tide pools but two puffed-up-proud Canada goose parents with precisely the same number of little yellow peeps in tow. You could’a knocked me over with a goose feather.
I mean, you tell me — what are the odds? Let alone same place and same time with same number of offspring, were these parents the same geese? Seven years later, the camera technology I employed to film the first geese had long since gone the way of the dodo bird (remember 2K “HD”?), and the brand-new 4K camera I had in hand when when I encountered the second family was already tipping toward obsolescence (the world is now speeding pell mell toward 8K). Heck, seven years older and slower (I wish I could claim wiser), I’m not even sure that I’m the same guy behind the lens, whatever the camera specs. In fact, without the undeniable evidence of video in hand, I might be tempted to write the entire déjà vu experience off to another “Rip Van Winkle moment” that, at my age, seem to be occurring with increasing (and alarming!) frequency.
Living in a world where I can’t keep pace with humanity even with the help of a smartphone, Google and 24-hour cable news, I almost can’t imagine the same two geese surviving seven annual migrations (not to mention hunting seasons!) to greet me an eternity (in goose years) later on the same beach, proudly sporting the same number of fearless yellow fluffballs underfoot. And while I’m wondering aloud … in which world am I really, truly living?
Existential questions aside, what I found most interesting about this most recent goose encounter can be seen at the end of the video above. While I learned seven years ago that geese do indeed nest in rocky shore ocean habitats, and do quickly introduce their surviving young to both fresh and saltwater tide pools, I didn’t expect to see the birds above leave the relative protections offered by said pools and swim bravely out into open water. Watching tiny yellow goslings bobbing like corks at the edge of the pounding, punishing surf raised eyebrows, I’m pretty sure, even among the harbor seal moms hauled out on nearby rocks with their newborn pups. Such questionable parenting decisions as these geese exhibited might explain why only two goslings continued to survive — for the moment — just as I had observed seven years before. I could picture Darwin nodding his head knowingly.
If I see them again next spring, I guess it will be — as Yogi Berra once famously phrased it — “déjà vu all over again.” To me it’s yet another beautiful moment to look forward — and backward — to on Nature’s Coast.