I heard the geese before I saw them, and the sound drew me across the room to the french doors. I looked into the sky over the pond and spotted them immediately. They flew low, a disorganized cluster, their calls loud and mournful. My mind reached for lines from a favorite poem, pulling up only a few of them.

“Something told the wild geese
it was time to fly.
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry.”

As I watched, to my delight, the geese wheeled and turned, and then headed back toward the pond. Feet first, wings spread wide, they touched down in the water with great splashes. About a dozen of them paddled to shore and clambered up onto the snow-covered grass. I leaned against the cool glass, watching them. Every so often one of them would rise up and flap its wings, then settle back down. They ambled about socially. I wondered if they were cold. How long had they been traveling? Where were they bound? I thought idly that I could simply watch them all day long. Their presence soothed me.

I thought about my visit here three or four weeks ago. Then temperatures had been in the high 70s and low 80s and I’d been picking late-blooming flowers in my father’s garden. The geese had visited during that time as well, only a few, but still I’d enjoyed watching them until they flew away, their calls so evocative– Time is passing. Winter is coming.

So much had changed since then.

As I watched from the window, a neighbor from across the pond strode down the lawn, newspaper in hand, gesticulating at the birds.

Oh, no.

I straightened at the door, aware there really wasn’t anything I could do. I was a visitor in this neighborhood and her message was loud and clear. She flapped her arms vigorously and the geese heeded the warning. In a flutter of feathers and scrambling feet, they scrabbled into the pond. Within moments they had taken flight and moved out of sight. So quickly were they all gone, leaving only ripples of disturbance which quickly ebbed as the pond settled back into stillness.

I watched the neighbor trudge back up to her house, wondering what she felt she had accomplished. Sometimes I really don’t understand people. Geese are easier.

I remained by the window for a while, hoping the geese might return. Of course, they didn’t, but soon enough the sun shone through low clouds and lit the remaining foliage, dazzling my eyes. Within moments clouds prevailed again.

But oh, how beautiful the moment was while it lasted.

Something Told the Wild Geese
by Rachel Field

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go.
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered,—‘Snow.’
Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned,—‘Frost.’
All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spice,
But each wild breast stiffened
At remembered ice.
Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly,—
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry.

18 thoughts on “Fleeting

  1. Love the pure poetry of Rachel Field
    “Something told the wild geese
    it was time to fly.
    Summer sun was on their wings,
    Winter in their cry.”
    Godspeed in Ohio. You captured the scene so well, including the neighbor’s clatter. I felt the impending doom with “Oh, no,”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That final photo is spectacular, Molly. Thanks for sharing it, as well as the poem from Rachel Field and your words.
    Last year, we had many wild geese stopping by our neighborhood — landing on the empty lots — pausing on their journey. This year, there are a few more houses so they’re no longer landing here.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. maryleehahn says:

    This post reminds us to live wide open: appreciate the beauty of nature, acknowledge that occasions of joy can be fleeting, shake your head when you witness idiocy, remain open for the next dazzling moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. haitiruth says:

    I love everything about this post. Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tim Gels says:

    I love watching geese coming in for a landing — it’s something of a controlled crash, in a lot of ways. Like you, the sight and sound of them brings poetry to my mind, but for me (as is the case for so many others, I’m sure), I whisper, “You do not have to be good.” That said, I need to spend more time with Fields’ “Something…”

    I appreciate how your post helps me settle into the scene as I experience the birds, the change of the seasons, and even the disappointment with the neighbor. Thank you for the story, the wonderful pictures (wow!), and the poem — what a treat!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m the grump of the comments because I can’t get past the neighbor who thought they were doing some good? Scaring geese off a pond? Ugh. I don’t understand people either.

    However, I will say, that last picture brings a little hope to my heart.

    Thank you for sharing with us today! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Darin, honestly, I’m with you. I could easily have focused on the neighbor being an idiot and that was my first thought. (My husband wanted to go let them know that interfering with migratory birds in any way is illegal.) However, I am making a determined effort to shift my focus in positive directions these days. It was tough, but luckily, the sun helped me out with that momentary light and leaf show.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Debbie Lynn says:

    I was cringing too about the neighbor because I always enjoy watching the birds; but you know, geese and ducks can wreak havoc on a yard because they root like pigs. I think it would be interesting to find out the neighbor’s reason for moving the geese along. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. margaretsmn says:

    Such a wonderful reflection on a moment in time. I remember watching the geese at my parents’ lake. I do miss that peaceful scene. Love the photos and the poem. Blessings to you during this special time.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. cvarsalona says:

    Wow, this post is filled with beautiful images, Molly. May the harmony found in the photo take you to a new level of creativity.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s