(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)
Our young rescue dog is still baffled by the geese. In the yard or on a walk, when the flock of geese are overhead — noisy as heck, to be sure — Rayna (our dog) pulls to a stop, takes a seat and stares up at the sky. This is her second Autumn with us, so it’s not as if she hasn’t seen the migrating birds, but I suspect it’s the combination of the noise and the formation and the slow-moving flock across the skyline that captures her attention.
Or maybe she thinks they’re a toy to be chased, just out of reach.
The thing is, her stopping and looking makes me stop and look, too, and, in that paying closer attention, I notice the patterns in the flocks, and track the way things are always in motion, as different leaders take the front and different stragglers rush to catch up. I hear their song start, gather volume, and fade. The sound of migrating geese is part of the soundtrack of Fall in New England, but is something I all too often take for granted.
It’s not beautiful music that the birds make but it is the soundtrack of seasonal transition, and if you listen carefully, the collective calls of the geese in each flock does have its own cadence and its own beat, a slow rhythm just off-kilter from the flapping of the wings.
Even as we keep walking, Rayna will often turn her head back to the horizon, to glimpse back to where the geese have gone over the treeline or horizon, as if trying to discover the magic of the skies. It’s the only time I really notice her noticing what’s above her, so attuned is she to the world at her feet, and noticing the world through another’s eyes — even a dog — is refreshing.
My morning’s small poem is inspired by the geese:
Birds, in flight,
a season’s songs,
a long pause;
of voices, chaos;
draw a line
from cloud to star;
we gawk, before