Monday, December 13, 2010

South is Really South

"Wait!" I wanted to yell. "You're going the wrong way!"

Silly me. Geese don't listen. They form that 'V' and are once more drawn on a migratory path that has been traveled by their kind for as long as they have flapped their feathers. The geese all seem to be pointing their 'V'  north. Perhaps the cooler weather in the south has them confused. My rantings below would make no difference.

Since my days on the farm, perhaps the first time my father pointed my little head towards the sky, I have loved the Canada goose. The way they mate for life, fly in formation relieving the leader time and time again to allow time for respite, they struggle to survive in a changing world.

There are two places nearby where the geese come throughout the year to feed and rest. One is on the property of The Sisters of St. Mary's. The geese congregate on the small piece of land. This fall the property was torn up in preparation for a building. The other gathering place is at a middle school. The geese fill the field roaming the soil in search of food. They are so commonplace that no one seems to notice the beauty gathered there. Where is the wonder and awe?

My children laugh when I run to the door as geese pass over just to catch a glimpse of them. I roll down my window to listen to their lofty conversations. I say a prayer for their safe flight, and thank them for passing by my way.

Many years ago I read James Michner's book "Chesapeake". He wrote of how the land was covered with so many geese that people could hardly walk. Their feathers were used to warm the early settlers. Their presence brought food to the table. Their cry was one of salvation for those who worried at survival of the winter.

Yes, I am in love with the Canada goose. I walked to the creek after Mom died as daylight settled in. Two geese came to settle on the creek, a sight I'd never seen before. I sat on the cement abutment with the two feather friends at my feet. At that moment, I knew that Mom and Dad were together. Oh, I already knew it, but Dad knew my love of geese. He wanted me to know that they were once more at home on the farm.

Maybe you think I just have a vivid imagination. Well, you are correct. A little girl fell in love with a big grey goose. She fell in love with it as it flew over the farm on Neff Road. As long as I can hobble, crank up my hearing aid and make it to a window, I will watch them fly above me once more and be thankful.

I hope they find out that south is really still south even though it is chilly. I hope they fly back this way when they do. I will be waiting.

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