Snow Geese Rising

*The snow geese have returned.A cacophonous din announced their presence. I awoke to the sound of the gabbing flock covering the hundred acres of farmland a stone’s throw from my nook. Salt-and-peppering the entire cornfield, the stunning birds completely obscured the crusty old snow of early March. A few moments later, a farm hand’s rifle shot thundered through the avian multitude and shocked them skyward. Such a flock it was – it took actual minutes of flying time to sort themselves out. They came back to the stubbled field six times in the next three days. And each day the shots rang out against them. I knew it was an innocent chase and not a deadly game the farmer played. The birds seemed to anticipate the gunpowder retort. I knew the field was a simple diversion for the migratory throng. And I knew where they headed when they fled.Today I made the annual pilgrimage to their genuine gathering place. The huge and sprawling man-made lake and forested preserve that floods the valley between these hills holds the ten thousand for a week or more of their vernal northern passage. And there they were, the whole squawking gaggle splayed out upon the icy waters. An aggregation of miraculous beings, the entire lot seemed a single sonorous organism. Flying above them squadrons of new arrivals approached from the south. Each v-shaped strand crowded in among the shining singularity that was the flock itself. Finally, as if the water could not hold another bird, a disruption spread among them all at once. Jostling for position and room to spread their wings, they rose from the lake in a sun-speckled congregation. Above my head the beautiful birds formed a single living cloud-like mass larger than the blue sky’s most massive cumulous. And their flapping wings aroused the very wind surrounding me.*image: TFD, 2007

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