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What’s with That?

Discovering the truth behind everyday curiosities

A Gaggle of Geese

What do a flock of political geese, an American flag and an uprising of religious symbols have in common? They’re all visible from Aris T. Allen Boulevard and all products of Jerry Blackwell’s creative self-expression.

The flag, cross, crescent moon and star are nothing new.

Bay Weekly begins 2011 with a series dedicated to explaining life’s little conundrums: the strange sights you pass on your way to work … bizarre lawn decorations that must have a back story … a road or river name you’ve found intriguing. It’s nothing earth shattering, but you’re curious. Alas, you’re busy and don’t have time to inquire.

We do. We’ll stop by roadside stands, talk to your neighbors or brave the dusty archives to get you satisfaction. Finding answers is, after all, what we do, and the stranger the question, the better we like it.

So we’re happy to change your I’ve always wondered … into Did you know?

What are you wondering about? Send your inquiries to Diana Beechener at diana@bayweekly.com.

But what about those geese?

Blackwell, owner of Windwood Gardens on the first block of Old Solomons Island Road in Annapolis, was helping friends take down political signs after the election when the idea struck him.

“I just thought it would be something strange to do,” Blackwell tells Bay Weekly. “So I took the signs and cut them into geese to make a flock.”

He cut his geese strategically to stand on their own two feet on the original metal prongs.

There’s no message behind the flock, beyond lessons in recycling and creativity. You have to go out of your way to discover from whose signs the geese are cut. Drive west on Aris T. Allen, turn off at the last option before Rt. 2, and get out of your car to read the name Doug Burkhard, who ran in the September Republican Primary for a chance to represent District 6 on the Anne Arundel County Council. 

Burkhard lost, and now his signs are geese.

“I think they look better this way. They blend in with the environment,” Blackwell says.

Blackwell typically uses his hillside above Forest Drive to preach a gospel of religious diversity. God dominates his landscape, spelled out in pansies, and Christianity gets two references. One is the Christian fish or ixthus drawn in dirt among the geese to represent Christ’s name and mission. The second is a wooden cross, visible to passing traffic in both directions. 

Rising next to the Christian messages, each on its own pole, are a six-pointed Jewish Star of David and a Muslim crescent moon and star. 

Making another religious message, a signboard has lately referred drivers to the source book for both Christians and Jews, the first book of the Bible, Genesis, specifically verses 13-16.

Accompanying all these on iats own pole is the American flag.

In all that, there’s clearly a message. 

But these geese are just for fun, proving that a symbolist who commands a high hill can’t resist placing forms in public view and tempting all passersby to make of it what they will.