Sunday, November 28, 2010


This day has known no silence. The geese have been amassing, enormous flocks of them flying low and landing like clumsy jets  on the brittle greens of golf course. Thousands have crowded today's skies, circling in tight formations then breaking and circling again, their voices rising up like fingers rubbing hard across the surface of a newly polished mirror. I have stood long minutes in the window, first with the sun glowing on the skin of my face and then again after the clouds turned the world dark, a washed out brown with hardly a pulse. And still they came, great clouds of them raising the ruckus Summer had banished. Duncan stood with me, his head cocked, his body taut, nose sniffing the air for traces of them. On our long walk this afternoon we watched them sweep in from the east, circling low over the trees to their north before the long, anxious descent to the ground. Duncan pulled at the leash, did a sort of dance at the sound of them, understood that soon we would be driving up legions of them from the park. They watched us back, squawking and barking, a cacophonous discordant symphony that eventually drove us away.

And then, just before dark, when day teetered on the brink of night, the wind rose up and swept their voices away, lifted the noise over our heads, pulled it through the clouds and let it evaporate in the billowous night. The geese were struck mute as the light abandoned the sky, and we turned our heads upward––Duncan and me and all the geese on the course. The silence was massive. Nothing stirred. The world seemed immobile, as though underwater while we waited and waited for some sign, a permission, to move again.

And then the snow came, first as a vague flutter in the corner of the eye, then a rustle of movement, like the darting of a sparrow. Duncan turned first, looking over his shoulder past me and up into the air. Then I felt the cold against my cheek, rolling down into the collar of my jacket, finding its way to the base of my throat. The geese began a low trolling hum that grew as they took a few steps, spread their wings, raised their heads high on their long necks and sang to the virtue of season. The wind returned the breath to the world and we moved on, squinting into the snow, our feet turned toward home.

1 comment:

David said...

Today drifts of Sandhill Cranes soared over our town. I could hear their unearthly calls even with the windows closed. It truly is awe-inspiring.