The geese have been taking off from Bedford channel the past few weeks. Sometimes they fly right down the centre of Glover Road, like some natural parade hailing the arrival of winter, alerting any tourist who’s yet to acknowledge it and bundle up. Seeing them take flight from the river reminds me of a plain taking off from the runway. Such a strange sensation, as the metal bird’s inventors most obviously borrowed inspiration and lesson from God’s design, yet I am more familiar with the latter evolution. I wonder if there are other things I understand the wrong way round.
Hearing the geese squawk before lift off is sublime. “Alright gang! Time to go! Up now – press on!” I wonder why they leave in the morning. Is it the calm water? Is the risen sun in best position for navigation? Perhaps they have been procrastinating, avoiding the primal pull southward for one more day until a particularly cold night finally sends them on their way, opting for warmth in spite of the lengthy journey ahead. Is it like forestalling a warm shower in the morning for fear the floor between bedroom and bathroom will be chilly under foot?
They have been taking off right before the bridge, lifting just before collision. They couldn’t have picked a more visible gate, as if first class passengers boarding a flight to someplace tropical while the rest of us watch with envy, our own retreat long overdue. Seemingly shapeless in the water they flaunt their departure in chorus and find form just meters off the glassy calm, chevron before cresting the tree-line.
Urge for Going (Joni Mitchell)