A Goose in a Garden

An unprecedented number of my readers expressed concern at yesterday’s post, “Wonderfully Wordless Wednesday.” There were an abundance of questions regarding the circumstances as well as the latest condition of Mother Goose as a result of that spill. I believe it’s time to set the record straight on that photograph…

First of all, Mother Goose is OK. I’ve suffered some patches of road rash, perhaps garden rash would be more accurate, to my left knee and a deeper gash to my lower calf, but thankfully no blood and no broken bones. Probably a side ache from laughing hysterically…

Mother Goose has been known to take a spill off her bike a few times in her life — always with a dramatic flair and an attitude of hilarity. I remember so well at the age of five when my father removed one of the training wheels from my bike, and then told me to just pedal and steer down the driveway. Of course, I quickly crashed into the rose bush.

[You may also remember that Dad taught me to drive a manual transmission car by pointing it up hill and telling me to just let the clutch out slowly whilst I give it a little gas…]

My dear sweet sister, upon hearing the news of last night’s garden crash, was quick to recall the time in junior high when our family had just moved to Hibbing — I immediately leaped aboard my bike and proceeded to explore the new neighborhood in high style. Unfortunately, my pedal caught the curb and down I went, sprawled out in the grass for all the world to see and laugh at.

My daughters and I have been enjoying this summer from the seats of our bikes — we free range about the town, checking in at various parks and places at all hours of the day or night. Last evening we had pedaled like mad to Taylor Park where we observed some serious tennis and climbed like monkeys to the tops of the playground equipment. We raced to friend Regina’s home to show off the new rear hubs on daughter Jessi’s trick bike — she can pedal backwards OR forwards and it’s called a “fixie”.

Sometimes we pedal with great purpose — sometimes we just meander around the streets and parkways of Oak Park. Sometimes we hear the song of Almira Gulch as we ride along. But always we laugh because we are so happy when we are riding.

The strange episode from last evening not only had me laughing my goose-like head off, but also warranted the uncommon concern of passersby who had witnessed the clown show and wondered as to my well-being. It’s probably a good thing that nobody offered me a breathalyzer…

I was coming in for a landing, trying to aim between the parked car and the flower bed. I realized that I was losing altitude rapidly and my air speed was perhaps just a little too fast for the weather conditions.

And then that s…l…o…w… motion fall.

Crashing slowly into the deer statue in our garden and breaking it off its stand.

Running over the candy-striped peppermint petunias.

Falling and falling, wondering if I would survive and if I did survive, what would be my quality of life…

Smashing across the concrete flower pot which felt like a boulder to my goose bottom.

And with my head landing under the giant leaves of the hosta, Mother Goose joyfully enjoyed the view from the lowly perspective of a bunny in a garden.

A lesson to be learned? The moral of the story?

Nah… We only live once — go for the gusto and the laughs! And just remember: a goose in a garden is a delight to behold!

I just had to post it one more time -- it's just so funny!

I just had to post it one more time — it’s just so funny!

One Word Wednesday



Mother Goose Leaves Her Heart in the Park

I believe that yesterday was the last glorious day in the life of this goose. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so alive — perhaps I’ll never feel that way again. Such is Autumn…

Mother Goose leapt aboard her old-fashioned Schwinn Collegiate (circa 1975) and pedaled away in search of a quiet place to sit and read a story to herself. With her goose neck craning to admire every single tree and garden along the way, Mother Goose inhaled the smells, the sights and sounds of the lovely residential streets in Oak Park. Before I could say “Jack Spratt”, I arrived at Austin Gardens.

Here’s the woody area of Austin Gardens. Is Mother Goose’s heart here somewhere?

Originally the homestead of Mr. Austin and his family at the time when the 1800’s were beginning to think about turning into the 1900’s, this beautiful plot of land is now public property in the heart of Oak Park. The village people have left the northern third of the park as a wooded lot — it almost feels like northern Minnesota if I close my eyes.

Mother Goose rode old Schwinny around the park, being careful not to run over any of the native walkers and dog lovers. In the summertime, the Oak Park Village Players stage Shakespearean dramas under the moonlight and ancient oaks. Today, Mother Nature was staging her own drama, and Mother Goose snuck into the theater for free.

As I coasted to a stop in front of my favorite bench, I noticed the new sculpture in the park. The title of the piece is “Well”; it was created by Romananian-born artist Leonard Ursachi, and well, here are some photos of that thought-provoking bit of art. A little side note: this sculpture was originally conceived and built by the artist in his new hometown of Brooklyn, NY. I’m grateful that he moved it here for Mother Goose to enjoy until the end of 2015.

Well. By Leonard Ursachi.

After a thorough examination of the piece, which is constructed of wood, rope, mirrors and recycled water bottles, Mother Goose took her place on the park bench to watch the leaves fall. Little did she know that her heart was slowly leaving her feathery bosom and finding a new home amongst the trees and leaves and peace and stillness and quiet and beauty of this glorious day in the park.

Watching the leaves fall…

As the leaves fell from the trees, Mother Goose noticed tears falling from her eyes. The beauty was overwhelming! Also, I must mention that she was reading a book by Brennan Manning, All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir. Already the introduction was deeply affecting the soul of the goose whose heart had already abandoned her for the loveliness of the park.

Sniffing, snuffling and glancing to my left, I spotted another sculpture. I had seen it many times, but never as clearly as I saw it today. I walked over to it and saw the new sign identifying the piece as “Pillow”. Again, clearly a thought-provoking piece — I sent a picture of it to a very dear woman in my life in order to obtain her intense interpretation and revelation of the sculpture.

Pillow. Made from granite and steel.

She loves most art and sculpture, but this one eluded her…in fact, she said it looked like a pile of poo.

So now, tears on my feathers and laughter in my mouth, I returned to my bench to continue my meditation on all things Autumn, and to attempt to explain to myself why this day should stand out as a mystical turning point in my life. I frequently find myself looking up when I am searching for answers. Here’s what I saw directly above me.

Every branch like an abandoned dandelion puff.

Gentle winds played with the yellow leaves, chasing them like children playing tag in the park. Mother Goose said “goodbye” to them, “goodbye” to her heart, and pedaled away. Life will never be the same for the goose. Glory days gone with the wind…

The Autumnal Garden of Mother Goose





A Pic and A Poem


A flutter,

A flourish.

Mother Goose



Her garden

Not hopeless

We Tour the Gardens of Mother Goose

The gardens of Mother Goose are surprising in their early bloomingness. I’d like to share some of my flowers with you today! I only wish you could be here in person — we’d stroll the grounds of the Goose Estate and chat about all things flowery and bright.

Cascading white blossoms

Some folks call it the Bridal Wreath. I’ve also heard them named Wedding Flowers. To me, they are fresh and lovely as a bride as she cascades down the aisle to her groom. “Now wait just a minute, Mother Goose,” I hear you say. “A bride doesn’t really go cascading down the aisle. Cascades are for waterfalls and fountains. A bride gently floats down the aisle to meet her groom.”

“Floating down the aisle is like floating down the river,” Mother Goose replies. “It’s really peaceful and picturesque — you look around you at the lovely scenery, slowly passing the weeping willows and the stately oaks. Does that really describe a modern day bride, for gooseness sakes?”

You smile and nod your head in understanding. “Ohhh yes, Mother Goose, you are right again. The bride is much more appropriately described as cascading because of the adventure of the wedding day. Over the waterfall we go, into who-knows-what-befalls-us!” And we continue our tour of the garden…

An old-fashioned charmer, The Iris

Let’s look a little closer at this one.

All the frill of a summer dress.

“Mother Goose!” you gasp. “Why are we looking so closely at this iris?”

With all due sensibility, I calmly reply, “We must look deeply into the folds, deeply into the petals of the purple iris in order to determine whether the act of pollination has occurred. The birds and the bees, you know, dear friend…”

And you look at me with such a look of consternation that I quickly add, “My dear, the whole point of flowers is that they are seed-making factories. They are God’s assurance that life in all it’s remarkable forms will carry on. I’m quite certain that you are familiar with the parts of the flower, the pistils, the stamen, the pollen. Our friends at Wikipedia define it so well: Pollination is the process by which pollen is transferred in the reproduction of plants, thereby enabling fertilization and sexual reproduction. Why, in fact, this iris is so extremely gorgeous to the eye of the bee that the very process of pollination may be taking place even as we speak. Here’s let just take a peek…”

I glance into your face and see the strong disapproval in your eyes. I wonder if you are afraid of bees or perhaps overly-sensitive about the privacy of the flower’s reproduction process…

“Oh very well, let’s continue our tour…” Mother Goose takes your arm and gently guides you under the trellis heavily laden with greening grape vines. “Please watch your head, dear.”

The lush grape arbor of a Goose

And as we stroll into the woodsy back yard of Mother Goose, a cloud passes over the sun and spring rains begin to fall. With hardly a comment, we pass the most overlooked of all spring flowers, The Lily of the Valley.

The Lily of the Valley

You put forth a rather random comment, “Oh, I see you have Lily of the Valley, Mother Goose.”

“Yes, I do,” I answer with a touch of curtness, and we continue on our way, barely stopping to admire the humble little miracle.

Tiny little bells, only a fairy could hear them ringing amidst the arrogant chatter of a friend of a goose.

We stoop at last to examine a strange golden flower. You are quick to label it as a weed.

A weed, or perhaps a misplaced wild flower, completely uncultivated or cultured.

“And what is this, Mother Goose? It certainly seems out of place in your formal garden.”

“Yes,” I reply. “It is surely a wild flower. I had nothing to do with its appearance here.”

You give me another look of disapproval and casually stroll away. Mother Goose is beginning to wonder why she ever brought you to the garden in the first place.

The rare and beautiful Clematis viticella 'Venosa Violacea'

“And your clematis!” You exclaim with sudden excitement. “Why, for heaven’s sake, Mother Goose, why didn’t you tell me that you had the rarest of climbing blooms back here along the fence. I have not seen this variety of clematis since our trip to the Balkans several years ago. In fact, I’ve been told that this particular genus had disappeared from the face of the earth due to the problems of global warming. You ARE keeping its roots cool, aren’t you, Mother Goose?”

Along the rustic fence

And in that moment in time, Mother Goose felt as proud as a peacock. Ruffling and fluffing up her feathers, stepping gingerly towards the flower with her rubbery feet and tossing her beak into the air with disdain, she replied, “Well, of course, I keep the roots of Clematis viticella ‘Venosa Violacea’ as cool as can be expected. I keep my buckets of ice water very close at hand for careful administration at the necessary times.”

And without further ado, Mother Goose picked up the watering can and doused her friend with ice water. They did not finish the tour of the garden that day…

If You Are Looking for Mother Goose …

She’s out in the garden, pulling weeds, listening to the cardinals whistle and telling stories to the earthworms.

Cardinalis cardinalis

When the Goose Neglects Her Garden

Whilst we were all lapping up the delicacies of the Titanic tale with Mother Goose, stuff was happening in her garden.

I’ve been somewhat preoccupied with my storytelling, and lo! and behold when I went out this morning to admire the spring time glories, I was shocked to discover that the weeds have overrun my pretty little space. My exotic spring posies can barely be spotted amongst the “native flora”. Most of these pests have developed puff balls on top of their long, gangling and rubbery stalks.

A native fauna standing amongst the native flora.

Mysterious puffy plants...

Very long stems and puffy tops. Hmmm....

More of the same, plus some pretty yellow flowers...

It's surely an invasive species...

So please enjoy this little song brought to you by The Muppets and the late and wonderfully great John Denver whilst Mother Goose figures out a plan for removing weeds, fluffly flowers and various noxious vegetation from her garden whilst at the same maintaining a vigorous and entertaining storytelling regime.

The Curious Garden of Mother Goose

Dear gentle reader, we suddenly find ourselves in November. Welcome to the garden of Mother Goose.

Whilst most people are raking their old worn out leaves to the street for magical overnight removal by the village dump trucks and loaders, Mother Goose is enjoying her lovely garden. Thanks as always to Joe, the fourth son of Mother Goose, for scattering marigold seeds here, there and everywhere earlier in the summer!

Our garden is still the most beautiful garden for blocks around. Stubbornly blooming marigolds in various shades of gold, orange, lemon yellow and even chestnut and deep cranberry red… They seem to be causing traffic jams on our street as the buses pull up to our curb, and tourists pour out of the buses with their cameras clicking away to capture the magic of our marigolds. I wonder if I should be charging admission…

And here’s the most curious and wonderful flower of all! An iris decided to give it just one more shot before the snow flies. Our irises typically bloom in June, but lo! and behold! This brave iris opened up this morning, and there are more buds on the stem. What next? Lilacs blooming on the rose bushes?

It makes Mother Goose so happy to stroll around admiring the flowers. I haven’t the heart to tell them that this is November….

Important Stats for a Goose

  • 79,638 honks to date

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May 2023