Call Of The Returning Geese

The night is crisp and clear.
The full moon shines brightly.
Rusty and Pepper are busy
sniffing scents left by recent passers-by
on the doggie highway.
I am thinking the night air finally
has lost the frozen teeth from its bite.
A faint Honk! Honk! catches my ear.

As I look skyward, a flock of geese,
V-ing northward, are silhouetted
against the full moon –
amazingly picturesque!
Again their honking reaches my ear.

This sound of migrating geese
resonates to my very bones,
awakening deep within my soul
some prehistoric feelings
of hope and joy
at their flight northward,
which presages an end to
the misery of winter.
These harbingers of spring
are once again,
as repeated thousands of times before,
promising humans their salvation
from winter's brutal grip.

Over past millennia –
before centrally heated buildings,
before sealed and heated transportation,
before lightweight, moisture-proof clothing –
how Man must have looked with enormous envy
upon the geese’s escape southward
from months of freezing weather,
from months spent huddled closely around
a little-warming, small-comforting fire,
weighted down in thick coats of hide,
cursing the penetrating cold,
praying to survive until
the return of the geese,
the return of life-giving warmth.

That ancient flame,
its roots now little recalled,
flickers yet within modern Man
to be ignited into blaze
by the haunting call of the geese overhead.

Fly strong. Fly fast. Fly safe.
Know well Man has been eagerly
awaiting your return north,
for you ride the very crest
of the springtime weather
that shall return beauty
to the barren earth.
Your present northward migration
gladdens Man's heart,
which thaws and soars
one time more
upon hearing...
the call of the geese.

Harry Edward Gilleland      02.28.03    printer friendly