I grant you that this time of the year feathered dudes are pretty gorgeous in general. While their mates hunker down on nests and try to fade into the woodwork, these snazzy husbands flaunt fluorescents and ratchet up the volume. They are so busy being gorgeous and assertive that they won’t even pose for a photo op. The saucy red epaulets of the ubiquitous blackbird continue to elude my camera even though his raucous calls make him impossible to ignore, while Mister Canary’s pure azo yellow flashes past just in time to grab a sunflower seed and he’s gone too. Who's a girl to paint?
But while I am briefly enamoured with these hot dudes, my real love and admiration goes to the mensches of all species. I was thinking about this last week during a celebration of life for an lifelong friend (our families have been close for a century). Fred was a self-described Canada goose who mated for life. When Gina, his beloved wife, succumbed to early onset Alzheimer’s, whether he drove, cycled or walked, Fred went to spend the supper hour with her every day for decades. He was a wonderful man whose character revealed itself not only in intelligence, but in honour. I know my anthropomorphic socks are showing and I don't care. I choose goose.
P.S. In the absence of a Canada goose painting, I offer a swan whose gender is indeterminate, just as it should be. Fred, we will miss you.