Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Gift of Geese

At morning, before the sun has risen and not even the tallest peaks of the mountains to the west of us glitter with the first amber and violet rays of morning, Duncan and I are out in The Run, trudging through snow that refuses to melt despite our warm weather. Now that the geese have reclaimed all the wide open spaces around us--the golf course and the park where we walk--we are rarely alone in the morning silence. They chatter softly and then as more of them pull the short stump of their heads from beneath the warmth of a wing the talk grows louder and more hurried, like old women making afternoon plans. They climb to their feet and leave the melted ovals where they've roosted all night. As we plod along, diving into the snow, craning our necks to spot the squirrels huddled in the nudity of the cottonwoods, the geese lunge forward into an awkward run flapping their heavy wings until the air forgives them and grants them passage pulling them aloft. They circle the course and rise above the tallest trees to a point higher than the morning shadows and are able to coax the first rays of the sun awake. They capture the light on their bellies, these black, feathery oddities which move so selfishly and arrogantly through the world, thrusting the rising glory of the morning earthward, shining brilliantly as they sing unabashedly overhead, flying faster than the sun and giving, if only briefly, something back to the world, something beyond words and music, something somehow greater than the witnessing.

*Photo courtesy of George Bruckner. His amazing portfolio can be seen here. Please visit.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


It has been a sleepy day with Patty Griffin playing on the stereo. The sun has been very bright through the windows and even though the heat hasn't been turned on for nearly a week, the screen door is open and I am warm.

Duncan and I have walked down through The Run to The Glen several times, chasing squirrels and Buster, the cute little mutt who lives downstairs. The chores have been tended to and even though Dunc thought a little tug of war with his Bully sounded good, he gave up too soon, yawned a big, wide open yawn and went back to the couch to curl up in his favorite spot.

Even in his sleep he is gorgeous and I marvel at him, wondering what sweet dreams keep the smile on his face. I hope I am there with him, throwing the ball, wrestling in the long grass of summers past while the birds whistle above us. I hope I am praising him there and patting his tail or running my fingers though the hair at his ears. I hope he is happy and knows how much joy he brings me even when we're not walking.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Blessings of Silence

Tonight on our walk there was a moment after the sun had slipped behind the mountains and the light slowly extinguished from the sky like a candle flame swallowed by rising wax, when the world held its breath and we stopped moving down the path. Strangely the geese on the fields were quiet and even the light traffic on Bowles seemed to come to a standstill. Duncan stopped and looked at me as his leash fell slack on the icy sidewalk and I thought of those last few minutes in Pocatello, just before we left town.

I'd pulled off Philbin Road and up the lane toward Ruth's parent's house and the giant green barn I've wanted to explore for the past twenty one years but have somehow managed to never set foot in. It was a cold morning. I could see the frost building up on the fence posts. Even the gravel beneath us was crystalizing. Pocatello was at the base of the mountains in the distance, the morning just bright enough that not even her street lights could be seen. I stopped the car and rolled down the window and breathed in that sweet Idaho air once more, relishing the silence out on the potato fields a quarter mile from the reservation. I climbed out and looked south toward the orange line in the sky. Duncan turned in the backseat and leaned out the window to follow my gaze. An entire day's adventure loomed ahead of us, six hundred forty miles, most of it yellow and windy Wyoming. My body was already beginning to vibrate as though the road had begun to pass beneath us at seventy, eighty, and sometimes ninety miles an hour. But at that moment, with the day still only a vague notion, only the silence mattered, the silence and the journeys we'd made together.

Tonight, on this the first night of the new year, with Pocatello and my family so far away, with another Christmas only a memory, the silence and the oranging light above the mountains was like a wish for peace and health and love, for kindness and pleasant dreams of flying, all the good things one could hope for as the calendar turns over once again. It was a wish for the future and a prayer that the past is able to find its place and be content there.

And as the moment of silence ended––for it was only a moment, lasting only as long as it takes two hummingbirds to kiss––as the world swallowed and its ears popped, as the traffic noise returned and the geese took flight and the ice on the lake shifted and moaned softly, Duncan and I stepped together into the new year. We have shared many steps, weathered many storms, but also many idyllic days and nights. Here's to hoping the blessing of the new year join us in our journey.