Walking to get my hair cut, a small flock of geese flies a close vee overhead about telephone pole height, honking to me and each other.

Did you know a big flock of geese sounds like a stadium full of cheering people; and, a stadium of full cheering people sounds like a big flock of geese? When stepping into the salon, I am not certain if I stepped into a stadium or a flock; maybe a flock of hair stylists in a smallish stadium? The surging chatter in the salon reminds of geese.

I smile to myself. Quietly.

Prairie

Prairie

 

 

 

 

 

 

I drift to a stubble field. The feeling of sitting in prickly stubble like three or four days pea-field beard growth comes back to me, but these freshly cut whiskers poke through the burlap into the small of my back and knees.

The sun glows, an orange-peel garnish on the rim of a freshly poured fall sky. My breath condenses in transparent miniature ghosts that stand in mid air, looking back before wandering away in the building breeze.

There are no geese to be seen. It won’t be long now, we’re hopeful.

Often you hear them before you see them. Sound carries a long way in the chilly morning air with nothing but stubble to slow and absorb it. The binoculars find the source of the sound–white geese. By the wavy wing-bob, these are snow geese, and there is another raft of them behind these, and another raft behind them. We lie back covered in white, the best camouflage for white geese.

And wait.

A few minutes later they pile in, ignoring our setup of snow decoys. They touch down a couple of hundred yards out of scattergun range, and proceed to feed. We’re pinned down, and may as well just enjoy the view.

The geese pile out of east now in a constant stream and the flock on the ground is growing to cover five acres. Within 20 minutes the geese cover nearly 40 acres of cut peas. The noise is spectacular. We abandon the hunt and commit to just watch. For the better part of an hour the geese pile in. Though the binoculars we can see two legged feathered vacuum cleaners hoovering up peas that slipped though the combine pick-up. It is a sight to see.

If you let your eyes ease out of focus, the field looks covered in snow.

Something startles the flock.

The stadium wave of geese lifting off is followed by what sounds like the roar of a jet engine over the cheering stadium crowd. It is hard to comprehend the noise coming from these several hundred geese. The geese take off in a counterclockwise direction circling to gain altitude as geese stack up in the sky like a backwards lumpy white tornado, and as loud.

The tornado continues until some lead goose says the word over the roar, and they bail out back east. The tornado unwinds in multiple vee’s of wavey white.

Another wild good chase ends in remnant feathers.

My hair stylist gently reminds me I came for a hair cut, and she is ready to roll.

Is that geese I hear?

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