"Take any writer you want in the 19th century: they wrote with quill pens, dipping a piece of goose feather in ink and writing. And yet we read those novels today, and if we're sensitive to them, we respond to them with an immediacy that is stronger than anything written today on a word processor." --Walter Murch
I didn't write with a goose feather this week, but I did see geese feathers fly--and up too close for comfort. I raise the question: are wild geese really wild? The answer: ummm, can be (visit youtube for evidence). Thankfully, as it turns out, I didn't have to find out first hand.
It started out with this guy on the neighbor's roof. I was on my morning walk. The goose was trumpeting the neighborhood with his squawking as I approached. Interesting, I thought, though I've seen geese on roofs before (particularly on the barn next door, chronicled here). No big deal, really, but still I snapped a picture on my cell phone camera anyway.
Then came an answering call, and I looked up ahead and saw two additional geese strutting across the road. I heard a car approaching from behind me. Surely the two will take the hint and fly off?
Well, no. In fact they began heading my way. At this point I'm actually chuckling a little.
But in seconds I begin to think maybe this isn't so funny. Not only did they come toward me, they made it clear they were agitated by MY presence.
I began to get a little nervous. "Go away!" I hissed (a sound not to be confused with their hissing).
Just at that moment, I felt the wind rush over my head, and the three ascended and passed overhead almost near enough for me to touch them. At least that's how close it seemed. They flew a distance away AND THEN circled back over! Not once, not twice, but three times they did this, honking all the while. I mean, they really didn't want me there.
Finally they disappeared in the distance and I could breathe again.
Well, now I know: geese can exhibit aggressive territorial behavior, especially if their nest and young are near (wikipedia), and they have been known to charge and can inflict bruises with their beaks and wings (Living with Wildlife). Students were forced to take cover from an angry mother goose on the campus of the University of Warwick (Daily Mail), and employees at Hewlett-Packard, Boise, Idaho once got a memo titled "Boise Site Communication: Avoiding Geese Attacks" (Huffington Post).
So I count myself lucky to have gotten away unscathed. I think I'll choose a favorite 19th century novel to read--Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights comes to mind--and seek to regain my equilibrium.
While I have no plans to continue my WIP with a goose quill pen, I might find myself wishing to pluck a few feathers.
Any exciting stories from your week? What's your favorite 19th century novel?