Friday, January 17, 2020
It only takes one
I went down to the river for my walk and was quickly informed by the world that it was deep Winter. It was cold. The path, roughly scraped of the previous night's snow, was unevenly slippery. Everything was quiet, even the hard Northern wind.
The river, which does not freeze well or easily, flowed sluggishly, and it had formed a strange yellow shelf of ice all along the shore. Even more odd were the large black stones strewn thickly on this shelf ice, running steadily on and on up the river. But these I could only barely register out of the corner of my eye. I was too busy picking my way with concentration and caution along the icy silent path. I heard the wind, my footsteps, and absolutely nothing.
And then a singular honk gave the game away.
All at once I understood: large black stones do not settle onto newly formed shore ice.
But geese do.
Aha! Hundreds of geese huddled into rough dense balls of themselves all along the shore.
But in that very moment of their revealment to me, and as if it was because they had been given away, or at the marshaling of a single sound, they all uncoiled, frothed, and leaped into the air. They spread their even, perfect wings, and, with as little fanfare as they could manage, the whole vast lot of them flew off into the wind.