Over three months and 162 birds ago, I dreamed of ending our Family Big Year in dramatic fashion: dashing to Colorado, or some other unpredictable location, to find the namesake of our blog, the Pink-Footed Goose. We would be hiking through a snowstorm, exhausted and near giving up, edging closer to the lip of ridge. Then, on the other side, would be this remote field or hot spring and two specks in the center. We would crawl closer, our hearts pounding, until we were near enough to spy those pink extremities padding or paddling around. Tears of excitement and awe would stream down my frozen eyes as we accomplished something surreal.
Well, that day may be nearer than we thought, though the picture I now see might not be quite the same. Yesterday, 26 people saw a Pink-Footed Goose in Ottawa and Jackson immediately whirled in excitement and said that we had no choice but to go. Fiona joined in.
Yes, we do have a long weekend coming up. It is only a 7-hour drive. And, yes, I do love the thrill of doing something crazy and spur of the moment. However, this scene from the movie, The Big Year, has me pausing.
Seven hours each way is a long time for a short weekend. It’s a long way for a family in a car. Not to mention, Jackson would be missing a friend’s birthday party. How would his friend feel?
But more importantly, what will we find after 7 hours of driving and probably 3 hours of breaks? Will the goose have moved on? They don’t seem to stay in one place for long. What would the 7 hours of driving and 3 hours of breaks back be like if it was seated in disappointment?
As I write this, I think I am convincing myself about my decision. In the end, it’s not about one bird, really. It’s the adventure. It’s pausing time and life and doing something outside the usual spin of the wheel. Maybe you see something spectacular. Maybe you don’t. But you will never know unless you take that risk. You will never know what else may pop up. Other birds we weren’t expecting. Maybe it will be disappointing, or tortuous. Maybe it will be a weekend to remember. Or somewhere in between.
Whatever it is, I think it will be worth it. Wish us luck!