On Thursday, I was full of hope for spring. As I left the office, an enormous flock of Canada geese flew honking overhead, going north. Yes! As the evening wore on, and the rain pelted the roof, On Friday morning, when I awoke to snow-covered branches once again, I was briefly a little, um, unhappy.
Then as I stood at the kitchen sink before leaving for work, a little yellow bird came to bird feeder, joining a chickadee there. That little spot of color in an otherwise drab, depressing day, restored my good spirits.
I saw more geese overhead on the drive to work, and wondered what those geese communicate to each other that makes them all decide to leave the warmer weather for the flight home, and what all that honking means. I imagine it may go something like this:
“Gloria! Slow down, let me catch up!”
“Oh, Gwen, I’m just trying to keep up with the flock. That Gary is a real slave driver!”
“Tell me about it. I said, ‘Look at the weather map; it’s all white and purple up there! That means bad weather!’ But no, he has to get home. ‘For what?’ I said. ‘George’s flock isn’t going north for another week or two. ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘I like to see what the varmints have done to the landscape while we’ve been gone.’”
“At least we don’t have to stay home all winter and beg food from people. If I had to live on bread crumbs all winter I’d die!”
“Next year I want a better place down south. Did you see where Ginny’s living? I’d like a place like that. Lots to do and a million places to eat.”
“We’re looking, too. That dump we had this year was embarrassing, not to mention a health hazard.”
“At least there are no hunters if we stay there. Give me noise and traffic any day over hunters.”
“Catch you later, it’s my turn to lead!”
Anthropomorphizing aside, I am heartened to see, finally, that we will be joined here by animals other than crows, coyotes, and cardinals. (Hey! They all start with the letter “c,” as in “cold.”
Usually by this time of year, I have been circling the house looking for tiny green shoots, and sniffing the air for the smell of dirt. This year, though, I seem to be in a permanently hunkered-down mode, and make the trip from garage to snug house and back as quickly as possible, with intermittent excursions to work and play bridge. I’ve been home so much I wore out my DVD player.
I have begun to shed my long underwear, like a snake molting. First the heavy-duty long johns went, then the lightweight tops. Then we had a little spate of cold climate recidivism and I had to drag it all out again. Every night I say a prayer that I will soon be liberated from the dreadful sound of the furnace turning on.
I said I’d never leave the north, but after this winter, I may change my tune and fly south when the leaves have fallen and the Canada geese reverse their annual migration.