Something about snow sends some people a little bit crazy…
Munich’s Englischer Garten is a wonderful park, even though the locals have questionable attitudes towards the native geese. There we were, strolling hand-in-hand through a landscape of snow and bark when we happened upon the hooting and honking of a few dozen geese and ducks. Four Germans were throwing some kind of food into a partially frozen pond, sending the birds into a frenzy.
The Germans chuckled, I smiled at how much they were enjoying it. Then suddenly the eldest man in the quartet started to back away from the water’s edge, crouching down. He had his hand extended towards the geese and one of them saw its opportunity to get a snack without all the kerfuffle of the overcrowded ice-cold pond. As the goose waddled over the low metal barrier and onto the path, stretching its neck to receive its morsel, the man pounced.
He straddled the goose, who didn’t seem to notice at first because it was so intent on securing the food in whatever minus degree Celsius conditions we were enjoying. As the man squatted over the goose it suddenly freaked out, but it was too late. It had the look of doom upon it with “This is it then” pleading out of it’s unusually expressive eyes. The goose was pinned to the floor and the man, still laughing, folded its wings against its body. No escape.
As he caressed its neck I realised I needed to get a snap of this loon. The German stood up again, the hapless and now strangely limp goose clasped against his waist. Suddenly he swung the goose back and then chucked it back at the pond with a huge grin on his face. The exact moment I’ve captured.
It plopped back into the water about 15 feet away and didn’t honk a single note of remonstrance, it was obviously quite freaked. The man rubbed his hands together, laughed, and the family went on their merry way as if this was the most normal experience in the world.
The next day we explored Schloss Nymphenburg and in the middle of the frozen park we found another elderly German man sliding along the partially frozen ice of the large lake, certainly risking his life. “If he falls in I’m not rescuing him” said Kristina, and I agreed with her that he’d deserve a Darwin Award if that did happen. Snow and humans – a strange combo.