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Rated: E · Fiction · Nature · #1826346
A short story reflecting the depth of a mothers love for her young From a series

~Heading north ~ pg 1

Flying north as she had every spring, following the warmer southern air pushing up thru the receding artic wall, the mature goose flew onward, constantly aware of the burden of what must surely be a record clutch. Fighting with every beat of her wings to keep up with the others, she thought it odd that she would be carrying so many eggs, given the smaller and smaller clutches each year, only three eggs last season.
But her born instinct to survive, and to give life, drew from deep inside her, and gave her the strength to go on, to keep up, though she could not remember when she last took her turn at the lead.
On this day Tess knew that she could not keep up with the others . As she fell behind, she remembered seeing clearly on other trips, from her place in the wedge, older, weaker ones falling behind, and eventually disappearing from sight. Some to catch up later, some never to be seen again. Tess wondered only for a moment, as her instincts turned to her survival.
Turning away from the unusually strong headwind that the group had fought for the last two days, she felt a burst of energy as flying now seemed no work at all, as the group moved quickly out of sight.
As her head cleared, Tess suddenly realized that she was alone, not just away from the flock, that was nothing new, as they had always looked forward to those private times of the life cycle when it was just the two of them, then the young ones. Those glorious summer months of long days and short nights.
Pg 2

But she was away from him!!! The last she saw of her mate, he was working his way to the front, to take his, and she suspected her turn at the front breaking thru the cold front as it pushed unseasonably into the groups instinctive path. He could not have known that she was gone, at least not for a while, till he to, fell back to rest at the tail of the constantly changing yet forward moving wedge .
How could he ever find her? Would he want to--she thought.
Fighting natures flow was not her way- her future would unfold in front of her-- mothers instinct took over as her last thoughts of him faded. She scanned the countryside for just the right spot that could be the difference between life and death for her and the seeds of the future that she carried.

~ she’s gone~

As he broke off and eased back into his resting place behind the others, Tec could feel every beat of his heart. Clearly not as easy as last season, and this cold headwind is no help. No matter how hard they flew, the ground seemed to stand still!! As his heart rate slowed, cruising with relative ease behind the others, the mature male goose panicked as he realized that his mate was not where he last left her!!
With unknown energy he broke rank. Pulling out from the group into the brunt of the cold stiff air to look over from above and below the whole flock. He flew from one side to the other of the huge living wedge. Then back into the pocket of less resistance to gather him self.

Pg 3

His thoughts were of self guilt, as this morning he did not listen to his mate as she wanted to rest today, and join up with another group tomorrow. He should have listened, and not let his aged ego guide him.
And now the losing one day of travel time or his life long companion was no choice at all! Every beat of his wings put them farther apart. But what if she left without him for a reason/ What if she wants to be alone--what should he do. Natures instinct , as always will be his guide.

~the oasis of life~
Both eggs hatched within hours of each other. With only the two, mom’s work was less hectic than other seasons. The old barn that had caught her eye from above, proved a perfect place to raise her last family. Long ago abandoned by man, and far from the main road, Tess could seldom hear the sound of civilization.
She felt a blanket of security come over her as she crawled into the hole in the heavy wooden wall that first cold day. The old pond, overgrown, wild with natures full force, was a wonderful surprise to find in the shadow of the slowly crumbling structure.
Warm weather, bountiful food, and long summer days soon turned the young ones into a handful!! It seamed that she was always getting them out of trouble. Time went by so very fast it seemed, yet often she thought of him, and wondered if he found another, or was enjoying the freedom from the burden she sometimes thought herself to be. No matter now, her task was at hand.
~ single mom~ pg 4

The summer glided on, and the young ones grew big and strong, to the point that a stranger might not tell them apart from their mother. As they began flapping their wings, and lifting themselves slightly off the water, Tess realized that they had never seen her fly!!
She had been so busy being both mother and father to her baby’s that she never took off for even a flight around the pond! There had been no reason it seamed, as everything that they needed to survive was right there, in or near the old barn and the hidden pond. Tess realized that he and her together had always taught the young ones to fly over the long warm summer days.
It would be a difficult task at this point in early fall to prepare them for the long flights ahead all by herself.
Deeper still, there was more- She had known in her heart that these two would be the last of the many young that she had brought into this life. Fighting deep inside with the instincts of thousands of generations. She fought as a mother to keep them near, and to be there for every fall and scare . To stay close to them as long as possible, to bath in the complete fulfillment that only a mother can know. Always knowing deeper still, that this was against natures wisdom, that had evolved thru the eons.
In the past summers Tess and Tech often had their family in the air before the others of the huge nursery covering hundreds of acres. It was a moment of bride to get the next generation off to a good start quickly as every day was so important. There was much to learn and so far to go before the cold killing north winds came in their often untimely manner.
Pg 5

As the warm summer nights got progressively cooler Tess fought the emptiness that she felt as she knew that she must get her family into the air. To the safety of the south as the warm winds retreated more each day. She would deal with her purpose later, her focus now must be on these last two.

~crash course~

Over the next few weeks Tess spent lots of time in the air flying around in sight of the little ones. She thought that if she could show them the freedom that their wings gave them they would be more motivated.
But they seemed to be content to swim around the pond eating and sleeping at will. The sun warmed them in the day and the barn protected them at night . They visited and played with their friends the frogs and muskrats whom also were enjoying the discover of first summer. None of the newborn had any idea of the changes that were soon to come. The other would learn to adapt to the changes and survive. But the young geese whom by now looked identical to their mother, must move on or perish.

Pg 6

Tess was out of ideas. This was never a problem in the past as they nested with thousands of other farther north. There too there was abundant food, at first. But as the summer progressed, the food and space for their family dwindled. Those that got their new family into the air early were able to move away from the main nesting grounds. Then over the last few weeks before the group moved south just ahead of the northerners, they could put on a few extra pounds and get in a little more practice.

Their chances of surviving the long trip were mush greater. She could not convince her babies that this wonderful spirited home that was all they knew would soon be a deathtrap for anything that was not underground or deep under the waves that now covered the previously smooth surface.

~a momentary distraction~

A few days later when Tess was along the bank, searching here mind for a way to get here family into the air’ She came across an unusual find. Wild rice! A delicacy- She had not previously found any around the old pond. By now she thought that she knew every inch of this oasis as she often went looking for her little ones as they explored their new world. Surely a muskrat must have brought it from another area and then been frightened off before enjoying the treat. A perfect distraction even if only for a moment from here troubles, reminding her of some better days.
~security in options~ pg 7

As the next few days came and went it was clear the new generation could not be motivated to get into the air. Tess started to seriously consider the option of wintering here in and near the old barn. It was looking like the only option she had of trying to survive till spring

~the big scare~

The next morning, very early as the three sleep peacefully floating on the safety of the pond-

All of the sudden, out of nowhere came the loudest wildest noise she had ever heard-
Her instincts as the eldest, took over and she was in the air instantly!
Before she realized it , the two young ones were in the air- right behind her!
They were so scared they were flying on instinct before they knew it-

Pg 8

As they gained altitude and speed- she could see the stability in their flight quickly perfect itself-

Tess grinned as she thought of all her work and worry, and all it took was a wild animal to put some fear in them! To bring their instincts to the surface-

As the two young flew off doing circles, dives, climbing and experimenting with their new found freedom- Tess swung around to fly over the pond- She just had to see what had motivated them so~

With tears in her eyes she circled twice~
And then sliced through the misty morning air -- slipping into the frosty water to coast along side her mate~
As she had done a thousand times before~
And would for many more~~

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