A Wild Goose Chase: the Fallacy of Assumptions

May 22, 2022

A Wild Goose Chase: the Fallacy of Assumptions


After a 7-hour drive from Texas to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi during which we were just glad to survive the dangers of I-10 East through Louisiana, we arrived at Gumbo Cove while it was still daylight. This was a few weeks ago in late April, and as we emerged stiff-legged and travel-weary from the car, there was an immediate impact of the relaxing environment our little bay camp provides: birdsong, the smell of salt air, the kiss of the bay breeze on our faces.

A Welcoming Party

And the most charming of all: a welcoming party. A family of geese was camping out in our yard, Mother and Father Goose with three goslings. I whipped out my ‘good camera’ (35 MM DSLR) but sadly, it fogged up from the change of atmosphere from the frozen tundra of the car A/C to the spreadable thickness of the Southern Mississippi humidity and wouldn’t perform for me. iPhone camera to the rescue!

Even though I approached them quietly and slowly, I scared the geese and barely had time to catch them before they plopped into the water, gliding gently up the bayou and out of view.

On the Lookout

We kept watch for the goose family during our week in Mississippi, but never saw the goslings again. Two pairs of adult geese flew by often, honking loudly, sometimes landing in the vacant lot across from us, and sometimes in the water. They didn’t seem to like each other and the larger ones, presumably the males, rushed each other in a fury a few times.

We started to worry about the goslings.

Where were they?

Were the Goslings Prey?

We’ve seen predators at Gumbo Cove before. That’s Ally below, from a couple of years ago.

Alligator Almost Submerged

A bald eagle soared above us last year.

And our Gumbo Cove Ring camera captured a hawk cruising up to our deck recently. (Don’t click the play button, it’s a screen shot.)

Gators and eagles and hawks, oh my! That’s a pretty challenging environment for geese parents trying to keep their family safe.

As the days passed, we worried more and more that goslings were gone goslings.

The grownups continued to fly up and down the bayou, honking, and stamped about on the neighbors’ lots, sniping at each other.

But where, O where were the babies?

Were the grown geese on a wild goose chase, looking for the goslings?

We left to return to Houston without an answer.

The Geese were Not Cooked!

But just a few days later, the Ring camera reassured us that the family was intact! You can click the Play button on this one to watch the peaceful progress of the geese across the yard, foraging for food.

So, as it turns out, the Grill-Meister and I were each being a silly goose to assume that the goslings were gone. We had just “said boo to a goose,” so to speak, by arriving and taking possession of Gumbo Cove, causing them to temporarily move the fam to a place less populated with people. We see them often on the Ring camera now, and it is surprisingly reassuring, in a circle of life kind of way.

Assumptions Can Make One a Silly Goose

This experience with the goslings that were not gone was a fresh reminder about the danger of assumptions.

As a teen, I giggled along with my friends when Walter Matthau, the slovenly coach in the old movie, The Bad News Bears, explained, “Never assume – it makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’.”

He was right! You can Google “the dangers of assumptions” and get numerous hits and reasons that assuming is a slippery slope, so I won’t repeat them here, but suffice it to say that I have a renewed commitment not to borrow trouble by assuming a negative that I don’t know to be true.

Just because the goslings are gone doesn’t mean the goose is cooked.

© 2022, Glover Gardens

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