Sunday, October 24, 2010

Gray Geese, Gray Days

I live across the road from a large pond. Early in the mornings now the water is the color of pewter and cold; the ripples on the surface look like shivers. Sometimes the sun dances there but it does not bring warmth, only a shimmering illusion.

Just before dusk several flocks of geese seek out the pond. With folded wings against rounded bodies, their heads dipping down beneath the surface of the gray water to feed, they look like floating rocks on sheets of metal. I sit on the shore and watch them. The cold, the geese, the dim, lowering skies all speak of solitude and silence and the relentless approach of winter.

One day I watched the geese descend, their ragged, raucous vees coming apart as they splashed down, their wings outspread, their feet extended to break the plunge. In the moment they went from airborne to earthbound their whole demeanor metamorphosed; wings folded and tucked they were not so much bird as buoy. They gabbled quietly as they floated. Now and then a single goose would stretch its neck to the sky and flap its ponderous wings, flinging bright flashes of silvery water into the air.

Warmth and sunlight will fly with the geese when they leave. The shortened days already begin and end with gray. Early in the morning before the reluctant sun opens its pale, distant eye, tree branches nearly bereft of leaf and color stand in stark relief against a powdered sky. I like these late fall days—the silence, the cold, the muted, faded colors. The days are like pearls strung on silver thread, each one rounded and yielding to the shadow of the next. I listen to the geese and I yearn not to leave, not to fly—I only want the moment to stay, to resist for a while the steady, insistent pull of the great seasonal wheel.

               Thank you Hilary!


Brian Miller said...

ah...i cling tight to will soon pass to lady winter...each season has its alure...the snow glittering like diamonds will be nice...and then will come new life again...

deb said...

gorgeous gorgeous.
this morning there is an almost eerie warm stillness
it seems to say... come out and look and fee and be ready

Molly said...

This has a mournful tone that resonates with me this un-gray, un-cold, but still Fall morning [and all that that symbolizes]here in FL. None better than yourself to put into words the feelings the passing seasons stir in us....

Barbara said...

Do you ever wonder if the same geese come each year or if it's a different flock altogether that splashes down each spring and stays until the weather changes?

The seasonal wheel is such a tricky thing. While we are trying to stop the turning, we know in our hearts that the change is what makes life interesting, letting us hope for what has passed and will come again the next time around.

Pauline said...

Brian, I am a four season girl, finding something to love about each one...

thanks for stopping by Deb. It is unseasonably warm here too, though not with consistency. Two days ago we had a frost. Next week will bring a return of 70 degree weather!

ah, thanks Molly - nature is my favorite topic

Barbara - females usually return to the same nesting site year after year so no doubt many of the flock are returnees, though there will always be new faces.

Hilary said...

"Like pearls strung on silver thread"

This is much how I see your words on the page. Beautiful.

Joanna Jenkins said...

The geese are one of the things I really miss now that I live in Los Angeles-- I loved watching them when I lived in the Midwest and East Coast. Thanks for the photo and beautiful words.

Tabor said...

What a lovely and haunting description of the end of fall. Our is almost here, but only cool nights and leaves changing colors.

Ruth D~ said...

Such a beautiful string of words, Pauline. I especially love the first paragraph: ripples like shivers. You capture the melancholy passing of one season to the next beautifully.

I've freed up some time in my scheduel and am anxious to begin again to blog and visit blogging friends.

Pauline said...

Hilary - I thank you! Such a lovely compliment :)

JJ - any time :)

Tabor - it's been a beautiful autumn so far!

Ruth! I will be delighted to come to your site to read again!

slommler said...

Such wonderful words have evoked beautiful images in my mind! You truly have captured the feeling and look of fall!
Congrats on your POTW

Friko said...

This is a post after my own heart; we share a way of viewing the world around us.
Thanks to Hilary for pointing me in your direction and congrats to you for POTW

TechnoBabe said...

It is fun reading about another person who enjoys nature and appreciates the geese.
Congrats on POTW.

Christine said...

your words are wonderful! i lean on my photos for expression and am inspired by you ability to evoke images through your words ~ i love finding time to surf for new blogs... it's great to stumble upon one that shares a similar subject, last week i posted about the geese, swans, and cranes that migrate to our little lake each fall :-)

off to reading some of your older posts

Cricket said...

Beautiful. I love all the seasons too, but I think I love Autumn a bit more than the others - from the first hint in September 'til the last day before the snow.

You're not that far from me; you probably also have the strangely warm, gray weather today? Odd. There's always a warm spell brought on by my putting away the fans and AC for the year.

Congratulations on your potw.

Pauline said...

slommler - thanks for coming to read and comment :)

Friko - it's such fun to find kindred souls here, yes?

thanks for coming by, techno

Christine - your photos are wonderful! I went to take a peek!

Cricket - I can't choose a favorite season. And yes, we did have that same gray, humid day. It is quite warm still, in the 60s even with no sun! Odd weather for this time of year.

gaelikaa said...

A beautifully evocative piece. I loved it.

Congratulations on your POTW mention of this week.

Land of shimp said...

As usual, this conjured images perfectly, Pauline. Well done.

As it happens, I used to work at a building called The Harlequin Complex, which featured all sorts of strange sites, and a huge courtyard paved with black and white tiles. There was also a large pond nearby, to the black and white tiles were frequently dotted with ducks, and geese.

That's why I have a permanent association with ducks and geese flying in and thinking that they are about to embark on a game of chess :-)

Which is why I can say honestly, "Pauline, this made me think of Chess."

Land of shimp said...

Sights. Gah. Brain fatigue is common on Sunday mornings. At least it is with me. Sorry about that.

CherylK said...

It's such a pleasure to read your written words. You express yourself so beautifully.

Congratulations on POTW.