We hear them before we see them – that great honking choir on its way to somewhere else. Their voices are distant at first, then grow louder as they finally appear over the trees, over the fields. They fly overhead, sometimes so low we can hear the whoosh-whoosh rhythm of their wings. Our work pauses as we call to each other, “Listen! Geese! They’re coming!” We run to the house to announce the sighting to anyone inside. No one wants to miss it. The arrival of geese is always an event.
In great numbers or few, they call encouragingly to each other as their long lines stretch across the sky. Stragglers speed-fly to catch up, honk-honk-honking as the space between is closed. We stand in awe and watch, or run about when our trees or buildings block our view.
Often we don’t see them at all, but we hear the clamoring up the road and over the hill, where great flocks stop to rest in potato fields next to our neighbors’ home. As delighted with the company of geese as we are, Marilyn and Sam capture the wonder of it all with photos they share.
What must they think of us as we stare skyward, shielding our eyes from the sun? Why does the appearance of a single pair command the same attention as flocks of dozens or hundreds? How is it that we find the flight of geese so compelling, we stop everything to watch, even many times in a single day, day after day, week after week in this season, year after year?
If the miracle of migration won’t cause us to quiet ourselves and look up, what will?