With every major change of the seasons, Winter to Spring, Summer to Fall, the Canada geese would make their pilgrimages either North or South. To get there on time they would normally head in the intended direction when the weather was also starting to change. In the Spring the snow would still be lingering on the north slopes, and the back roads, unpaved as always, would be muddy tracks through the fields or trees. In the Fall the leaves would be well along, having changed color, drying out and wavering in the chilly wind, some having fallen already and crunching beneath my heavy boots.
My mind, sodden from the memory of the winter and the constancy of the cold, never quite believing that it would ever end, was hungry for the next signs promising the change and deliverance of the next season. When I thought I was at the end of my patience that’s when the Canada geese would appear. I would begin listening for them, impatient for their arrival, scanning the horizon for those first waves of V shaped formations, their strong wings powering their way towards me. I would listen harder and eventually I would be rewarded with the staccato cries of the geese calling from high up in the clouds. My ears catching every note as it sifted down through the grey misty haze and broke like sharp, crystal-edged flakes of sound around my soul. Each call a request, an invitation to join them, if only I weren’t locked tightly to the earth.
Take me with you, I would say to them quietly, take me with you. Often I would call it loudly up into the sky in a vain attempt to reach them, to make them see that I was trapped here and could not leave. I wanted desperately to join them, to go with them to those far off places, but they never paused in the steady rhythmic beating of their wings. If they saw or heard me they showed no sign of it, for I was not of them.
Year after year, season after season, it never failed to happen. When the first wings appeared out of the distance, impossibly high, looking like dotted lines drawn against the expanse of sky, their bodies just a dark silhouette, always, always when the first faint call reached out of the mist, the thought would jump unbidden into my mind. Look, I am here, take me along.
Heading north in the Spring and south in the Fall, stark against a deep blue sky, every feather outlined in perfect detail, or passing through clouds, their shapes becoming faint and opaque like shadows barely seen in the darkness. Their calls muffled, the size of their bodies getting ever smaller as I watched them recede into the distance, their calls fainter and fainter until they were gone and only an echo of them remained in my mind. Take me with you, I would say, and though I was forever rooted to the ground, I never ceased to ask.
Now years later I still find that catch in my throat as I stand here leaning against the door frame, my nose pressed tightly against the metal mesh inhaling the sharp metallic tang of cool fall air through the screen door. I’m waiting once again for the sound and sight of the high-flying geese heading South. I am here and the season is changing yet again.