Over the summer my relationship with Analdas changes, as he turns back toward the wild and the flock that lives on the lake. I don’t have photos of the key transition, because at that time I was interacting with him and couldn’t shoot pictures too.
In late spring he is still keeping company with his duck friend.
Even though it’s summer, I bring the occasional treat and he comes eagerly as always. If Borka is around, she’s not at his side, and I can’t recognize her otherwise. I haven’t seen her for sure since she left in the spring.
But special food for Analdas gives rise to conflicts with the other geese, and Analdas generally loses. I try tossing in a wide swathe for the others and then giving Analdas his portion, but the conflict follows anyway, though he’ll sometimes try to mount a defense. But he usually gets pushed out of it and ends up standing powerless on the side.
Finally, I try to bring him across the path again, mostly out of sight behind a small tree. But he balks. He’ll come halfway and stop, which he’s never done before. We just look at each other, or he murmurs a bit before I walk on and he returns to the lake and a group of other geese.
One day, he’s atop a rock far across the lake, surrounded by the flock.
As I pass, I stop and we look at each other. He doesn’t move, so eventually I start walking again. About ten steps later, he starts honking softly and I turn back. We look at each other again, he turns his back to me, climbs off the rock and swims in the other direction, into the thick of the flock. It’s about the sweetest, most definitive goodbye a goose can give.
I see him only occasionally for a while, but his damaged wing is impossible to spot in the water where the flock congregates, and he doesn’t often perch on his rocks anymore.
The last time I see him for sure, it’s early September and he is sharing a log with a green heron that passed through.
At some point I stop seeing him at all. Summer turns to Fall and I wonder what winter might bring, but I think he’s made his choice, and found belonging with his fellows.
Fare thee well, Analdas.