Sunday, November 15, 2009

Season of The Goose

With last night's abundant snow came the geese. They have gathered like a blanket upon spread out upon another blanket in the golf course behind my apartment where their bodies melt warm shapes into the snow and their feet leave strange, alien tracks. They were kind enough to whisper amongst themselves throughout their arrival last night. I imagined as each new group alighted on the far side of the drift-laden hill they murmured and gathered like family coming together in a hospital room, anxious and relieved to see familiar faces but pensive, almost afraid to breathe. They awoke early, though, and were unable to contain their silence any longer. Their voices rose over the deafening hush of the snow, which falls louder than you think if only you listen. The sound of it blowing and catching the air, then striking the earth, bending the grass, folding over the naked tree limbs is almost thunderous.

Their voices pulled me from sleep early this morning when the light was still too weak to venture far into the room, but seeped in timidly through the slats in the blinds. With my eyes closed and my face half buried beneath two pillows and a pile of blankets I felt certain I'd dreamed my life, that I was three or four and curled up in Grandma's bed on Christmas morning, the sound of Grandma, my mother and The Aunts drinking their coffee and planning the Christmas dinner a pleasant and glorious call from bed. I blinked awake, the voices from the past slipping into goose chatter from the hollow, snowy morning outside.

It is a deep snow and as Duncan and I struggled through it, I wondered how the geese were fairing, if their bodies were submerged beneath waves of white with only their long, periscope necks and wicked little faces visible above the drifts. As the light came on and the falling snow began to wane their babbling increased, almost desperately, and then suddenly from the north came a surge of wings and echoed cries as they took flight, breaking through the low clouds and then coming back down in a long, sweeping arc. Duncan and I stopped on the hillside and watched them as they flew low overhead, three or four hundred of them, their voices occasionally joining into a single long note, then shattering like glass which fell around us, mixing with the snow washing up against our feet.

We heard them long after they passed and in silence we seemed to come to the same resigned conclusion: Autumn is gone. The time of winter is upon us. Our walks will not be easy.

3 comments:

David said...

Each time I tiptoe through a minefield of geese droppings on the forest preserve walkways, I repeat my mantra: "I am a visitor. This is their home." They peer at me, some indifferently, some balefully. "Just passing through!" I tell them, keeping my eyes cautiously on the road.

Scout 'n Freyja said...

We don't have the snow that you do yet and our geese are long gone. Walks are furry dull cuz the leaves are off the trees and the weather is furry gray. Dreams of childhood can be some of the best☺

caboval said...

Watch out for the goose poop! Hugs Joey and Kealani