First snow

Three intertwined Vs of geese pass low over the house as I stand by the door. A chickadee had just dropped down into the bush beside me for a closer look, but the sudden clarinets spooked him, and he fled into the lilac, which is still wearing most of its leaves. “Canada geese” — we shall soon have to change the common name for these local birds that never leave the state. This is a new phenomenon since I was a kid, when we heard geese only during fall and spring migration, from high overheard. The proliferation of these so-called nuisance geese makes me both fearful and sad, like so many other things that are going haywire in the natural world. Fearful because I wonder what further changes it portends, and sad because — like hayscented fern, like white-tailed deer, like red maple — the geese are still as beautiful as they were before. Something must go wrong with our seeing, I think, if treasure can so easily turn to trash.

The goose-music, as Aldo Leopold fondly called it, echoes off the ridges for another half a minute; the course of the flock is almost parallel to the hollow. Then the chickadee returns to the bush, bringing a companion, and both birds scold me from a couple feet away. Mom only got around to putting out the feeders for the first time yesterday afternoon, but already the number of birds around the houses has increased ten-fold.

It’s around 10:00 in the morning. The sun is burning through a light cloud cover brightly enough to make faint, fuzzy shadows, many of them still inhabited by last night’s first dusting of snow.



About Dave Bonta

I'm the author of several books of poetry, including Ice Mountain: An Elegy, Breakdown: Banjo Poems, and Odes to Tools, but my real work is at my long-running literary blog Via Negativa, where I'm currently creating erasure poems from every entry of the Diary of Samuel Pepys. I'm also the editor and publisher of Moving Poems, a blog showcasing the best poetry videos on the web.

Posted on November 9, 2007, in birds, Canada geese, weather. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. ‘ Something must go wrong with our seeing, I think, if treasure can so easily turn to trash.’

    On Canada Geese: I step happily among their ‘leavings’ and later search out a puddle in which to do the ablutions required to get back in the car.

    I’ve placed a speaker outside so that I may hear them in the evening after the cold shuts my doors and windows. Their wild hearts make my old one forget – momentarily – that I’ll not fly like that again.

  2. Hi Cathy – Thanks for stopping by. I guess you mean you put a microphone outside that’s connected to a speaker inside? Very cool idea.

  3. Yes, yes. The speaker is outside – the microphone – in. One drawback. When a bird strikes the window – you practically feel the thud. But, it does alert one to the stunned bird’s presence so that you can get out there and shelter it ’til it recovers.

    I’ve strung more sparkly garland, inside. It seems to help.

  4. Good lord. Vice versa on the speaker and microphone. I don’t want those critters (or my neighbors) eavesdropping on my domestic conversations.

  5. Yeah. The next thing you know, you’d have talking crows repeating your choicest words all over town!

  1. Pingback: Stick figures | Via Negativa

Leave a Reply

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

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

Google+ photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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


Connecting to %s