A clear blue sky. The scraping of leaves as they move across the ground on a light, cool breeze. The scream of a blue jay clearing the feeder of those considered to be lesser neighbors and the drumming of a woodpecker searching for insects in the truck of a tree. These are the sounds of fall. But there is a song that is the quintessential music of autumn- the symphony of notes played by a flock of Canada Geese as they fly overhead to their wintering grounds far away.
I was traveling about this weekend and was fortunate enough to see many huge flocks of geese as they ‘carbed up’ before continuing their migration south. I saw something I had never noticed before. Each large flock as made up of clusters of smaller flocks, which in themselves contained even smaller groups of individuals. When I looked out over a large field I could clearly see how the hundreds of geese were connected, like ripples on a pond.
First year babies stayed close to their parents but on the near peripheral of this tiny circle were last year’s children who were unattached and so remained close to the original family. This group was the center of several loose flocks that surrounded them. These were the children of a previous year with their young, expanding the family circles.
These huge flocks of hundreds of birds were all somehow related- mothers, fathers, uncles, cousins, grandparents, great grandparents. ‘In-laws’ created extended families that overlapped to create an even larger community that sometimes included geese of other races. And somewhere along their travels these Canada Geese would meet and set up house next to other species of birds because of graze or water or safety; and close an entire waterway with their numbers.
They were a mirror reflection of our own communities. A house contains a family, several homes create a neighborhood and number of neighborhoods completes a town, becomes a state, produces to a country and on and on.
They are us. And when I looked out over the field I was reminded that just as a grand flock is one being, so are we, made up of individual families brought together for whatever reason the universe has chosen.
The Scared Circle continues on it’s omnipresent course and it’s song is sung on the tongues of the geese.