Ponder this:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Canada geese know more than I

There is a pond across the hill where Canada geese gather for the summer. They present a picturesque scene, camped there in the wayback of somebody's house. I don't know how the human residents feel about hosting the gaggle; I imagine the gooseypoop ruins some aspects of their pond enjoyment. This time of year, the goose gang starts doing practice runs to get in shape for their long commute to the Jersey shore or wherever they go for the winter.

Yesterday as soon as I came home from work I got into fleece and sat on the front porch while the dogs ate their kibble supper picnic-style off the lawn. When the shady side of the house got too breezy and chilly we moved to the back and I watched two huge flocks of geese wheeling around the sunset-cloud sky, shouting to each other the whole way. I wished that I had my camera to catch the moments of flying bodies aligned with the gray-purple cloud rows, but I didn't want to take the time to run inside to get it and miss the sight.

While I watched, one lone goose traveled strongly, straightly, in a completely opposite direction, and silently passed his fellows. Several minutes later, after the whole gaggle had disappeared off over the hill and down the valley, here came The Solitary One, winging back in roughly the direction from which he'd come, and not in the direction I thought his flock would be. He honked at regular intervals; I could hear him long after he was out of sight. Watching his progress across the sky made me feel lonesome on his behalf although I'm sure he was following a plan unknown to me. I know crows have individuals who sit at intervals along a flight path to call directions to their groups; I wonder if geese have the same scout helpers. For all I know he might have been patrolling to round up the young ones who'd fallen behind. Maybe that's why his first, opposite, flight had been silent, so as not to confuse the mass.

I like that thought and I will choose, for now, to believe that.
I like being sure that there are natural rules of which I need to know nothing.
The world goes on according to plans over which I need have no control, no concern.


threecollie said...

You told it so well, that I didn't even miss the camera type photos! thanks

Michele said...

It *is* hard to know what they are up to, isn't it? I live in Texas and right now our lows are in the 70's. Yesterday I saw a gaggle of geese flying west!! Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post. Animals (excluding us humans) have some great things built in and direction finding is one of them. No need for a GPS hanging around their neck. I do like the solitary life of the goose but alas in time he was able to see the error of his ways and take off after the family. I know the crows are like that with their lookouts and talking across the noise of our small city.

I was worried too during the Vietnam war as we had our son of age to go but he didn't have to and that was that. Then he got married, had children and guess what? His daughter, our granddaughter, went to war in the first war in Iraq and that war messed with her brain somewhat. It is a shame. War is.

Thanks for talking about it and for the comment on Vietnam on my blog. I appreciate your comment.

thecrazysheeplady said...

I hope you are right and Ed is wrong, but I'm guessing Ed is right :-/. Beautifully told. No pictures needed - they'd have been a distraction.