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Location: Midwest, United States

Friday, January 27, 2006

Geese Flying

Late last night, as I sat quietly reading, I heard geese honking high in the winter sky. I put my book aside and listened raptly until their cries faded to silence. There are sounds in Nature that tug on my soul, sounds that open doors to deep mysteries and wonder. The raucous song of geese as they wing their way to distant lands is one of those.

It’s the song of Life.

Now, I know that many consider the Canada goose to be nothing more than a hyper-amped pigeon. People treat them as a gross nuisance; complain vociferously when they choose to roost in our retention ponds and soccer fields. Neighbors visibly display their disgust as they scrape the droppings from their fashionable shoes. We try to shoo them, scare them, kill them…

To me, the geese are harbingers of winter. I have absolutely no idea how they come to decide when it is time to venture southward. They have no need for clocks or calendars or maps. They simply know when it is time to go. They are attuned to the rhythms of the earth, some unfathomable cosmic clockwork. I see them winging their way purposefully to faraway destinations and I feel humbled. They know more than I could ever comprehend. They are closer to God than I will ever be.

There are many sounds like that, music that thrills and perplexes. The cries of loons at dawn, the haunting serenades of wolves, the whistles of whales traversing the deepest oceans, the incessant croaking overtures of frogs…the list is long…all are songs of life and love and mystery. There are forces, impulses, needs, yearnings and dreams in Nature that dwarf my own. We humans are possessed of an unwarranted arrogance. We are just a miniscule fraction of the Whole, and I often think that we are among the most clueless of beasts.

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Bonus: Here's Mary Oliver's poem "Wild Geese"


Blogger Nels Nelson said...

On geese, Canada geese specifically, most of the ones we see around our parts these days aren't migratory. They still, it seems, exhibit the behaviors of migration, flying in formation and all that jazz, but the actual going, they skip that part. Also, when they fly low overhead, you can here the sound their wings make flapping the air. That's pretty neat.

Tue Jan 31, 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Sad, but true, Nels. Sad, but true. There's no need for them to fly farther south. Our ponds and rivers rarely freeze nowadays. One has to fight to maintain the romance.'s the only fight worth fighting.

I was camping near the Horicon one fall, when a Great Heron winged it's way a few feet above my head. The air throbbed and pulsed with every wingbeat. THAT was truly a magnificent moment...

Tue Jan 31, 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mailed a copy of Wild Geese to Mary Oliver and she autographed it for my nephew. Perfect high school graduation present.

you wrote: We are just a miniscule fraction of the Whole.

But.. also...

Thu Apr 16, 03:20:00 PM  

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