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!