I had a great moment with these geese, who were flying north yesterday, in beautiful Cherokee County at my mother-in-law’s house. I couldn’t believe that I managed to hear and see them flying directly overhead, and I just so happened to be getting my husband’s phone from the car, so I took these photos with his camera.
The first photo I took just after I heard them coming and they appeared over the trees. The sounds they made talking back and forth to each other were unmistakable. I scrambled to get the camera ready in time to capture them. Honks of varied tone, depth, and complexity came from different directions and locations in the arrangement. They really seemed to be communicating with each other. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to see them after just reading Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac. His descriptions of the geese as they return to Wisconsin’s lakes in March are great. He writes, “One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of a March thaw, is the spring.”
I realized as the chatter of the geese, which Leopold describes as “a general shouting by the onlookers of a vehement controversy,” swiftly moved through the sky that there were two groups of geese. They were on their way north to the thawing March lakes, maybe even Leopold’s Wisconsin lakes. I thought they were trying to merge and become a larger group or had possibly fallen apart and were trying to repair their perfect flight pattern. Maybe that was what all the communication was about. They moved so swiftly and were out of sight in a minute. I could still hear their calls to each other. Then after they were gone, I thought writing about that short moment and how it made me feel connected to the “geese that proclaim the seasons” that Leonard describes would be the perfect journal post for my Environmental Literature class. The timing for the reading assignment of A Sand County Almanac and the geese flying through Georgia was interesting.