By Cindy Liu
I never had a fantastic relationship with geese. I even went out of my way to complain about their fecal waste in my first article about Stony Brook. One can only imagine my reaction when someone asked me to write my last article of the academic year about the geese offspring at Roth Pond: Nope, sorry buddy, nuh-uh, not me, no way are you making me do this. Sure enough, this article is about those rotten little bastards at Roth Pond.
I’m not much of a nature person, I know next to nothing about geese. Why are these goslings so important to write about? Are they some sort of new phenomenon? Are they merely another part of SSK’s cute-ification project? What could possibly be held accountable for the emergence of these frustratingly adorable creatures? Only a visit to Roth Pond held the answers.
The actual visit took less than five minutes. The visit did not involve a contemplation of life, or a reflection of my first year as a college student. It did not provide a revelation of any sort, nor did it really even answer any of my initial questions. I watched the fuzzy yellow things peck at the ground, waddle about, glide onto the surface of our favorite murky disgusting pond, and swim across the water in an all-too-picturesque fashion. It was there, at the pinnacle of college freshman disillusionment, that I took a mental photograph and promptly noted their actions.
I thought real hard about what I had just seen. I thought real hard about it for a very long time. Of course, this spectacle was hardly something to think long and hard about. It was hardly a spectacle to begin with. Geese! Goslings! Jesus! What is there to say about goslings?
After a while, I realized that I had overlooked something. And as I was sitting on the Staller Steps as any quintessential Stony Brook student would on a pleasant spring dusk, sans the hippie friends forming a circle on the grass around me, I felt this strange feeling of general love for humanity overtaking the simultaneous compulsion to wring someone’s neck, anyone’s neck would have done. All I can say is, well Stony Brook, you’ve gone and done it this time. I didn’t think you’d be able to do it, but upon reflecting on eight very frustrating months with you—eight months of denial and contempt and the usual hysteria that accompanies anyone’s first year at college—you have grown on me, just like the little goslings will grow up to be the shitters-in-residence here. You have battered down and humbled this arrogant soul, you have taught me that in this post-adolescent pre-professional world, it can only go downhill from here. You have reminded me that despite all the stress, loneliness and boredom, there is something undeniably beautiful and endearing about seeing everyone gathered on the Staller Steps, seeing readers under the big tree outside the Earth and Space Sciences building, watching the geese perpetuate their cycle of life on our very own Roth Pond.
Post-duck watching revelation aside, why are the little goslings so goddamn important, so deserving of our attention among all the finals and papers and goodbye-for-now parties? It is because among all of our disillusioned, unhappy and complacent students (let’s not forget, we placed number one on the list of Least Happy Students in the nation in Princeton Review), one needs to seek solace in something untarnished by human misery, something that remains forever free of social expectations. One needs something that reminds us that despite the fleeting nature of everything in human life, there is one thing that will stay constant, pure and independent of all our bitching and whining.
It’s obvious that if anyone on any given spring day went to see the geese and goslings to have an epiphany about life, it certainly would not come. But goose-watching—like college—is exactly what you put into it, and I suppose that if you want to rot in your own dissatisfaction, then that’s what you’ll get out of it. If you want to see the light, then you’ll smile and find a way. There’s always a way.