Bare rocks, stripped of their summer ornaments of moss and lichens, now appear ancient and regal, denizens of a historic world that was here before mankind, and will be here after we are all long gone.
Our tiny village pond is a stopping off place where migrating ducks enjoy a few days before taking off again on their southern journey. As I drive the country roads, the skies are filled with
geese, huge flocks soaring and dipping through the air to land in autumn dark fields to graze, preparing for their long journey to warmer climes. Canada
The sight of the geese always leaves me melancholy.
Their excitement is palpable; they honk and preen, sometimes taking flight in synchronized dances as they ride the spirals of the air currents until, tiring of the game, they float back down to earth.
Their presence tugs at my heart strings. Do these beautiful creatures, in common with all their smaller feathered friends who flee our bitter winters, understand just how dangerous their journeys will be? In their joy of flight and movement, do they realize that the world is full of dangers? There are bitter winds, icy snowstorms, hunger, and death waiting, there are culls and hunters and accidental entanglements with the artifacts of human existence that litter their paths.
I want to stamp on my brakes, leap from the car across the frost-laced hedgerows and gather up these creatures of the air, hug them and keep them safe.
But not without self interest – for we know that when the geese leave, winter's snows will follow. If we could keep them home, could we thwart Old Man Winter's icy forward march?