Pre-sunrise 3/20/08-- the dark cloud on horizon is waterfowl in the distance
Dark clouds of geese rise on the horizon, darkening the sky. Waterfowl are migrating through Big Stone County in the 10's of thousands. Here on the farm there is a 360 degree surround sound-- a symphony of cries, calls, honking. Their encouragement, connection, community. Just before they take off en masse they start a din of honking. They fly in V's within V's within V's. It stops me in my tracks to see the sky so full-- they fly right over my head.
As I put Jens and Lake down to bed last night-- pulling down the shade to the yard light and the snow storm-- I said outloud, half thinking to myself "oh those poor geese." (we are buried in about 10 inches of fresh new snow). Lake says "don't worry mom- they have warm fur."
But I right now in the midst of this blizzard, I don't hear the geese muffled under the snow. Only an occasional isolated honk. I tried to go out for a walk by myself in the dark blizzard this morning. But those dang boys were up at 5:50 a.m. and caught me standing in the entry with my boots and coat on. So I had to suit them up to join me. The snow too deep for their 3-year-old legs. We followed a fresh set of tracks that looped around the yard along the tall grass. I think it was a mouse-- such small prints that didn't sink into the fluffy snow. The boys got cold and so I sent them in. Then I walked far enough away from the yard light to get into the dark out on the prairie and laid in the deep quiet snow-- pelting my face-- so silent-- dark--peaceful. It's in those moments I know I'm where I belong.
minutes later-- sunrise with a flock overhead-- not retouched
**A colleague and friend gave me this "inspirational" piece about geese-- I edited out the motivational speech parts**
The Sense of the Goose
In the fall when you see geese heading south for the winter flying along in the "V" formation, you might be interested in knowing what science has discovered about why they fly that way. It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go through it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the power of the flock.
When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose takes over.
The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep their speed.
Finally, when a goose gets sick or is wounded by a gunshot and falls out, two geese fall out of the formation and follow the injured one down to help and protect him. They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until he is dead, and then they launch out with another formation to catch up with their group.
IF WE HAVE THE SENSE OF A GOOSE, WE WILL STAND BY EACH OTHER WHEN THINGS GET ROUGH, and even when they're not.