No question: they were here first

Published 6:42 pm Monday, July 22, 2019

Having been raised in a town that is near the river has been a blessing to many of us who love our hometown. We have cherished the memories the river has brought us and suffered through the storms and hurricanes that have caused flooding and homes and businesses to be ruined. Yet we are a resilient people and have grown to expect that we cannot control — Mother Nature. Rather, we marvel at her beauty by taking pictures of her sunsets that cannot be found anywhere else but our hometown on the banks of the Pamlico.

There is another problem that we have to learn to accept, and for me, it is not a problem. That is the waterfowl that live along the banks of our river.

Personally, as a young boy and now a man, I enjoy seeing the ducks and geese crossing our streets, even if it holds traffic up just a little. That is the slow pace that everyone enjoys and the lifestyle of living in a riverfront town. We could all take a few lessons watching our feathered friends as they walk across our streets. You know, folks, they were here first and have the right to cross the street as slow as they wish. They were here long before we ever were, and I guess they figure they have the right to take their time. If we pay attention, while they cross the street, they will teach us many lessons about raising children.

When a mother goose has small baby geese, watch as she proudly takes her children across the street. She protects them the whole time and lowers her neck to chase away anyone or thing that tries to harm them as they cross. Do we as parents not do that? We are protective of our children until they grow to defend for their self. A mother goose is proud of her babies, and she shows it as they cross just like we are of our children as they grow up. She has nourished them, built them a nest to be raised in and feeds them daily just like all proud mothers do.

We have learned much from geese as they fly in formation in their V shape. Do you know that they fly 17% faster in a V and that the lead goose does not always fly in the front all the time? Once the lead goose gets tired, it goes to the back and another goose moves to the front. If one goose is hurt and falls out of the formation, two geese will follow until that one is well enough to fly again. They take care of one another, just like we do. These are some lessons in aerodynamics and care for others that we need to learn more about.

I know they have caused some problems at times. They seem to control Third Street between the town ditch and the river and some have complained about them. For me, they are residents of our town just like us, and they are what make our town so special in so many ways. This is the Original Washington, and we must accept all that goes along with the beauty that the river provides and be thankful for it.

Indeed, we were the first Washington, and if you do not believe it, check out the water towers and the signs that welcome visitors to our town. That will be for another article that will be written. For now, let us protect and enjoy our duck and goose population and learn from them.

They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, NC!

— Harold Jr.