The Column

Geese Culling

The ghastly Denver goose purges of 2019 and 2020 fired up a mound of conflicting feelings. Geese were taking over, but not just in the depths of winter. Year after year more Canadian geese were selecting the Mile High City as a permanent residence.

This turned out to be a disastrous mishap. Keeping their wee, webbed feet parked on the lush summer grasses meant that 2179 birds entered goosey heaven.

The government fiercely defended the culling. They softened the blow by ‘donating’ the meat to needy neighbours. But I can’t help but wince when I see those geese out there this winter, unaware that if they dare not take to the sky come Spring, they are about to participate in goose roulette.

Have we ourselves, like non-conforming geese, strayed too far from the calls of mother nature?

The Americas are full of migration.

Each Autumn up to half a million monarch butterflies swarm northwards from Mexico to places like Denver.

In April, we hook up a fancy, glass hummingbird feeder and wait in anxious glee for the return of the Central American hummingbirds.

Red Sockeye and Kokanee salmons weave through hordes of fly fishermen/women and duck the grasping paws of bears all in the name of lovemaking.

Our winged and finned friends aren’t alone.

The fruit pickers and farm hands also migrate. Hopping the Southern border with H-2A visas in the harvest months to meet the shortfall of labour. These folks are the lifeline of Coloradan and Californian peaches that pack the shelves in warmer months. If it weren’t for their migration, the fruit would rot on the ground. There’d be no peach season at all.

Migration makes sense.

It’s better for lovemaking. It’s good for seizing climates with more abundant food sources. It’s necessary to keep fruit from befalling a sad end. It prevents the baby salmon from washing away.

Though we humans aren’t encouraged to migrate at all. Our modern lifestyles are not crafted to best suit the ebbs and flows of mother nature. Inflexible border policies scoff in the face of a migrating human. Rents are hit with high mark ups at anything less than a year. Most sadly, those fruit pickers that do migrate, often leave families behind for 6-8 months at a time. And they’re paid pretty abysmally.

There’s many of us that would relish in heading South for winter.

We could pile out of the city when the snow billows in and save the world from the central heating bills that are warming the planet. We would need more grace in the short-term rent department, border control, fully remote work policies and family member accommodations though.

But for some, temporary migration could certainly be a good thing. It would also stave off those winter blues.

It’s been a heck of a long winter.

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