I and a small circle of friends (a circle made smaller by ‘a stomach bug that was going around,’ alas!) gathered at my folks’ house to give 2012 the bum’s rush. We had wine and a snack buffet — ‘pigs in blankets,‘ stuffed celery sticks, chocolate pecan pretzel things,* chips(crisps) and dips, candies — all that party stuff that’s so delicious and so fattening! Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Years Eve special was on the TV — this year, unfortunately, without Dick Clark (who passed away in April, 2012) — and we watched the ball drop in Times Square at 11 o’clock (we’re in the central time zone and New York City is in the eastern time zone, an hour ahead of us). About 11:45, my mom declared the party was over and sent everybody out the door so we “could get home before all the drunks get out on the road.” I got home (safely) at about 12:15 a.m., and when I got out of the car, this is what I heard:
Large populations of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) overwinter in the Panhandle and South Plains regions of Texas. In the city where I live, we have a large storm drain run-off water catchment system which includes playa lake reservoirs located in city parks all over town, which the geese find very attractive. There is a particularly large playa lake located in the park that’s a couple of blocks down the street and, not surprisingly, it’s a popular geese hangout. Periodically, at any hour of the day or night, a small skein of two or three or as many as twenty or thirty geese might go honking across the sky over my house, inbound to the lake, or outbound to feed in the surrounding farmland. (Apparently Canada geese can’t fly without honking.) But last night, there were thousands of them in noisy flight criss-crossing the sky in all directions — perturbed, as you might imagine, by all the fireworks going off across the city like gunfire in a war zone. I shot the video not for the picture — it was too dark to see anything except the baleful eye of the cloud-shrouded moon — but for the incredible cacophony of sound.
* Place snack twist pretzels on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place a piece of Rolo candy or a Hershey’s Kiss atop each pretzel. Place in a 350-degree oven just long enough to melt the chocolate (about a minute or two). Remove and press a pecan half into the melted chocolate. Allow to cool. Enjoy!