This morning, winter had returned to the Colorado Front Range. Down at South Platte Park, a low, gray overcast shrouded the refuge, broken only by the smudge of the rising sun, and light flurries swept through the valley.
Hiking along the river, I spotted a feathered carcass in the tall, dry grass. It was the remains of a Canada goose, an abundant resident or visitor in most regions of our country. Indeed, I cannot visit that riverine preserve without encountering twenty or more of those large birds and can hardly look out the windows of our Littleton farmhouse without seeing a noisy flock moving across the sky. But, while these wild geese were once a rare and stirring sight in many areas of the U.S., they are now derided as a nuisance, "soiling" our parks, walkways and golf courses.
This morning's victim was likely killed overnight, perhaps ambushed by a fox or coyote. Most of the meat had been consumed, his remains, except for the feathers and fresh blood, now reminiscent of a turkey carcass after the Thanksgiving feast. He will no longer honk across the evening sky or spoil our manicured human habitats. His carcass will be scattered by mice, skunks and other creatures, soon to blend with the soil of the refuge. Speaking for many others, I appreciate his donation and promise to do the same when the time comes.