Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Geese Know

"for I know one thing
love comes on a wing
and tonight I will be by your side
but tomorrow I will fly"

Nick Cave

Sunday the energy at Finley Wildlife Refuge was palpable, breathing, building. Geese of many types were all over the pond with a few flying in and out. Their cries were in the air as always; then something happened.

The energy shifted. You could feel it happen. The geese all lifted off at the same time leaving only a few behind. The sounds of their wings and cries filled the air all around as I watched caught up in their experience.

Where the pond had been full of birds, in an instant it was emptied of all but a few; as they filled the sky in their bands. After lifting off, they flew different directions, crossing and crisscrossing above us and then heading to the north likely to settle down on another lake. It's not time just yet; but soon, very soon they will be going much farther.

I have seen them take off before and always love the sound, the energy, the beauty of it, but never so many as if from some secret signal that only they heard. What triggered their rising? There were no threats that we saw. Humans are blocked from access in this area to anywhere but parking lots and their vehicles

It was 54° F. out at Finley that afternoon. Did they feel the approach of spring? Are they excited at the prospect of heading north on their migration where they will raise new families? Does that require their energy building for days ahead of the migration?

I can't read their minds, but I know mine when I saw and heard them. It filled my soul. It made me want to follow them to the mountains and meadows where they will summer. I want to see the mountain's wildflowers, feel its breezes. I am so ready, as ready as it appeared they were on Sunday.

[Migratory Birds] is my movie/slide show with more photos from Sunday including others from 2009 (Lesser, Dusky, & Greater Canadian Geese, Whistling & Trumpeter Swans, and pelicans) using music by Nick Cave from the wonderful soundtrack Winged Migration.

For me, Winged Migration's soundtrack and film are very inspiring using music and nature's sounds. I own both, recommend them, but they are just a taste of what nature can do to restore a person.

I know I am a nature oriented person and not everybody is the same; but I am convinced that more time outside in nature, watching birds, touching (if not hugging) trees, breathing nature's wonders in, waiting for the surprises, not so much 'using' nature, not abusing it, but soaking it in, respecting it, would make a big difference in any human being's mental health.

Finding such healing places is especially important today with bitterness, anger, hate, and ugliness so many other places. We can't control all the negative stuff that comes down. 'Shit happens.' We can choose whether we wallow in it. It is in how we react to what happens where we have the choice.

Almost anywhere someone lives, places like Finley will be nearby, places that earlier generations put their hard work into making safe for migratory birds. That is as inspiring as the birds.

Photos were taken at William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge January 31. Finley is a few miles south of Corvallis, Oregon, and a peaceful place to visit at any time. In another two months it will be open beyond the blinds to more trails and walking around the lake but right now, the birds have the right of way.


Alan G said...

Love the featured photos and enjoyed the slide show also.

And the word "free" does seem to be a very relative term when it comes to our perceptions of the term. I don't treat our freedom lightly as Americans but that is a much different type of freedom. It still has it boundaries. The winged creatures, on the other hand perhaps of all us creatures seem to personify real freedom and it limitless boundaries.

I have watched "Winged Migration" a couple of times and it is a very enjoyable documentary.

robin andrea said...

What a great moment to have been there to experience their burst of energy and flight. When I was very young I remember looking up at the sky and watching it darken with thousands upon thousands of migrating birds. It's been a long time since I've seen such a sight.

I think if more people spent time in nature, they might work harder to protect it.

20th Century Woman said...

Beautiful pictures. I agree with you that bird migration is one of nature's most mysterious and wonderful phenomena. Just the fact that they can fly is irresistible to us earthbound creatures.

TorAa said...

What a spectacular view and experience.

Here in Norway we have two Season signs:

In the Spring:
When the Grey Goose comes from the South and flew V-shaped up North to the Nordic Summer and Wildness.

In the Fall:
When they return South.
Then we know: Summer is over. Next is Winter.

btw. I did also comment on Suzann's

mandt said...

It's the same here, with the addition of mallards, egrets and wild swans. Absolutely awesome at times, when they move as one.

Dick said...

Our Skagit Valley plays winter host to many birds, especially the Trumpter swans and Canadian geese. They seem to cover the farmer's fields although I don't know what they are foraging for there. They are mostly plowed dirt fields. The birds can also be seen on local ponds. Up the Skagit River all the month of January the eagles are feeding on the salmon and make for quite an interest trip to see.

I am much happier living in a rural area rather than in the big city, although I guess they both have their pluses and minuses.

Sallie said...

Thank you for your inspiring thoughts of the coming spring.

Kay Dennison said...

Wonderful post!!!!! Living in the city -- and rarely escaping it -- has not been good for me. This post's message for me to start planning some excursions for this summer.

Annotated Margins said...

Unfortunately, just a few miles north of Finley and very close to my home, too many folks think that because they paid money for a plot of land, the land actually belongs to them, and so they intrude upon the freedom of the Canada geese. Guns pop all morning long. It drives me nuts.

Rain said...

We also sometimes hear skeet shooting or the rifle range (on Buchanan Road) when we are out there. None of them add to the ambiance and I always wonder how the birds feel about it. Finley does allow some limited hunts in the refuge since the Lesser Canadians are growing in numbers too much for the other geese. In the video I made, the geese on our pasture and flying against the fir trees were the Greater Canadian Geese whose numbers have been threatened. Certain geese are never supposed to be hunted and you do have to take a class to get a bird permit to make sure you know which is which. I can't imagine killing any of them but there are hunters in my family and when it's done responsibly, it's just another predator.

Darlene said...

There is something in a bird in flight that creates envy in we Earth bound humans. The freedom to soar above troubles and woe is something that most of us would like to do.

This is a lovely post, Rain.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

These are fantastic pictures Rain....I've never seen anything like this before in my whole life...It has got to be absolutely thrilling...And with the sound of them, too---that must be breathtaking in every way....!

I couldn't get the Video-Slide-Show to work....Not sure why....
But, I LOVED seeing these pictures!

Joy Des Jardins said...

I love this post Rain. I've always been fascinated by the migration of birds and I love watching them in flight. I often dream of flying myself...I don't think that's uncommon for us humans...the feeling of soaring in the air and feeling free.

I love the pics you've posted..thanks Rain.

Rain said...

For anyone who cannot get the video with music to play, I put the photos onto a slideshow at Migratory Birds. These photos were taken in the Willamette Valley, Coast Range, Klamath Lake and along the Oregon Coast.

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

Wow. That was fantastic, Rain. I've never ever seen such a thing but my heart beat faster as I looked at each photo you took.