Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Early Risers

"Early Risers" (oil on canvas, 1994) by John Schoenherr

Before plagues of them spread across the United States, Canada Geese were rare, magical, dinosaur-looking things that came and went in small numbers. We tended to see only airborne flocks, not huge armies permanently encamped on soccer fields. In the late 1970s, Dad had a half-acre pond carved out of a scrubby field on our property, largely to lure in geese, so he could study them up close. Almost every year a pair would settle on the tiny island, build a nest, raise a family - and then leave with goslings in tow. For almost two decades, Canada Geese were one of Dad's primary subjects, culminating in the last children's book he wrote and illustrated, originally titled Gone Goose, but published as Rebel by Philomel in 1995. Much of its setting is based on the pond out back.

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