What’s with the birds?

4:15 am.  I’m running.  Thoughts clanking and clanking and clanking around.

Mother Goose and 5 goslings on highway.  Car approaching.  I slow to see if they get out of the way.  I stop.  Car slows.  Car stops.

Mother opens her full wing span and stands hissing in the middle of the highway – – guarding her babies against a 4000 pound mass of steel.  Babies waddle off the road with Mother following closely behind. Car passes by.

I start running again.  Another car approaching one mile out.  I see the geese back on the highway.

CLANK. More than 30 years ago. I was a kid.  Kids can be cruel.  You were cruel.  Let it go.  Let it go. LET IT GO.

I can’t leave them. I turn back.  I’m gasping for air.  I shoo the birds off the highway into the Bay.  The car passes by.  I sit on the bank watching them swim away.  Hands shaking.  Chill sets in.

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call and the Birds?  All living things are sacred…



  1. I hope that by the time you read this, you have stopped shaking – your adrenalin was pumpin’! You saved the lives of this mama and her babies David – arguably a most heroic deed for a Thursday morning. Our choices at 13 are not the same choices we make a few years later (ok, it may be decades later, but what do I know)…


    • Not sure it would call it heroic. Penance might be closer to the appropriate term. I’ll be chasing geese, birds and all forms of wildlife off the road the rest of my life. 🙂


      • It’s not karmic retribution – whatever happened when you were 13 you have undoubtedly paid for many times over. At the risk of sounding even hokier – doing the right thing can be pretty flippin’ heroic…think of the driver who was cruising straight for that avian family. Btw, all of this generosity stops when talking about rats, marmorated brown stink bugs, termites, or anything that results in infestations that give me the willies. Obviously my standard is a little fluid (and driven by self-interest, which is pretty shitty)… 🙂


      • I’m somewhere between smiling and laughing. Thanks Mimi. “Standard is a little fluid.”


  2. Alex Jones says:

    Is this what you experienced personally on a run?


  3. Everyone makes poor choices now and again. Some with consequences more dire than others. You have certainly paid your dues and I would say, learned something along the way. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Forgiving yourself is the next step…..


  4. You are, who you are today, because of what you did in the past. Good or bad, right or wrong. What you did today was an act of kindness. How you got here is not as important as what you do with it. Let it go. You are doing good work. Looking forward to reading more of the ‘clank’ if it is cathardic for you. You are a great story teller. Thanks.


  5. Dave
    Lead,learn,live is my daily wake up call! You are extraordinary, your words remarkable, your deeds inspiring!


  6. Ah you are a hero…saving their lives and making sure they were safe and sound. Great story. All of us can do things like this to make the world a better place. Thanks for sharing.


  7. I would have done the same thing David. One day when my kids where young and we were traveling home on a country road we came upon a couple of cows in the road and I got out of the car and did the same thing so that they would not get hurt, when I got back in the car my kids treated me like I was a hero. It was great.


  8. So many have already said it beautifully… I did ridiculously stupid and cruel things as a child (this coming from a lifelong vegetarian, tree-hugger, and animal-rights activist). Anger? Other kids? Who the *bleep* knows why. We are only human — and as long as we evolve, there must be forgiveness for such trespasses. You obviously have a kind heart, and that’s all that matters. You helped those who desperately needed assistance, in the face of oncoming metal and wheels and concrete — and you got them to where they needed to be, their habitat. Baby season is SO very hard.

    “Save one life, you save the world.”


  9. Sometimes I think those birds have a death wish, going back on the road like that. But you did say the mother was a goose, didn’t you? Ever wonder where the expression “silly goose” came from? I think you met her.


  10. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    You’ve got my heart pounding and hands shaking!
    What a way with words!


  11. THAT was good!!


  12. The geese at the pond near my house do the same thing. Roaming on any road is unsafe. Many of the nieghbors, including me will stop and let the cross or shoo them from getting hurt by those who are not as nice.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful story and photo. The little goslings are adorable.

    Enjoy your day!! I hope no one decides to do any yard work tomorrow which requires a leaf blower. 🙂


  13. Cute!



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