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Bilingual geese: A lesson learned
by David Farside
Jul 15, 2013 | 1751 views | 0 0 comments | 101 101 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I always seem to learn something new observing people at the park. Last Friday was no exception.

I was siting in my car under a tree away from the crowd when a big SUV parked right next to me. Not a soul on my side of the park, but they had to park right next to me! – the California license plates explained it all.

A young Asian couple and two children climbed out of their chariot of intrusion. The children were each holding a brown paper bag filled with bread.

They made their way to the edge of the pond and seemed disappointed because there were no geese to be seen. Finally, the kids started throwing large  pieces of the stuff on the grass. Then, from out of nowhere, the geese landed, surrounded the whole family, including my car, and began chattering and begging for food.

The whole family was talking to the birds in their native language. They were excited because the birds were responding to their conversation and gestures of kindness. I couldn’t understand a word they said, but the geese seemed to recognize every word of it. 

The bags of bread were quickly consumed, the family said goodbye in their foreign language and the geese chattered their thanks in return. It probably was a common dialogue because the asians seemed to understand every word the geese said to them.  

I decided to try for a little snooze but it wasn’t meant to be. A few minutes later, a carload of Hispanics parked in almost the same spot as the Asians. They climbed out of their van, bread in hand and started feeding the same group of starving geese.

The geese had their same routine of soliciting; they surrounded the van and were quickly taking food out of the hands of the children as they were reaching out to touch them. The kids were talking to the geese in their native language. Again, I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but the geese seemed to understand every sound they made. The bread finally disappeared; the family said their goodbye and the birds chattered their thanks. Wow! I was really impressed.

On the way home, I picked up a cup of coffee at a fast food place. The usual homeless men were begging for food money by the door, commonplace for this area of town. What was really sad was seeing two elderly men picking through the garbage looking for food. A not so common sight on this side of town.  

I thought of the two families in the park, reaching out to feed the geese and their children from two different ethnic backgrounds, speaking two different languages but with the same desire to share and feed the hungry birds. They shared their bread of life without discrimination, prejudice or ethnic barriers.   

I thought of the kind of world we could live in if everyone reached out to feed a universal hunger for peace; a world where a touch of the common language of caring, respect and charity could abolish poverty and starvation; a world where giving, sharing, caring and common sense could eliminate greed, hatred and war.  

I thought of the lessons we all could learn just by watching the innocent, kind and loving children of the world feed hungry bilingual Canadian geese – I just wondered.

David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist.
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