Monday, March 18, 2013
Whoever created the word cacophony must have been in the company of geese. They're comical and noisy, and what they leave behind is an awful mess. They'll turn an ordinary river bank into the foulest doggie walk you can imagine, and their you-know-what is fulsome.
Down here along the river, we're in their company right now. They've nearly taken over. They rule the skies over our place, in strict formation like B-29s over Europe. Even when only two or three are flying, one is always out front, as if regimentation is the only commandment in the goose book. Last summer a few stayed here along the river, maybe a dozen, maybe more; but yesterday an echelon of a hundred at least flew low over our places, looking for a landing field, hundreds. Along the river these days, dozens and dozens of them sit out in the flooded fields, eating and drinking and swimming and yakking to each other like half-deaf gossips in that goosey falsetto you can hear a mile away.
Horribly distressed--at least that's what all that complaining sounds like, all that cacophony. Their downy undies are all in a bundle for some reason, the whole lot yakking to each other, at each other. I have no idea what they're worried about. Nobody shoots 'em--at least not in the spring. Yesterday, with a carton of shells and half-decent blind, I could have fed a dormitory and stuffed a dozen winter jackets in the same afternoon.
On the frozen ground, they're hapless really, just as we'd be, I suppose, if we'd be that bottom-heavy. They're bathtubs with broom handles, tubs of feathers with nothing up top but fine calligraphy. And they all seem to come with the same white chinstrap. Watch them awhile, and you swear they're keystone cops or maybe junior high girls--you know, one gets astir and takes off, and they're all gone, just like that. Show me a goose with his or her own mind, and I'll show you a dead one.
They're a farce really, a silly madcap farce, and you just can't stop howling at their antics. Yesterday, my wife said she saw two of them walking on the ice across the pond--walking, that is, like a couple of Irish lads with their snoots full, flopping over time and time again. They're not at all athletic, unless they're in the water, of course, where they're blessed with incredible ballast.
They come in gaggles, a weird word that they alone seem to own. And that's only right. Nobody else would want to be called that--"look at that gaggle of gazelles" just doesn't work.
Ice chunks dam the river right now, water pooling in adjacent fields. It's cold as mid-winter, but something is stirring. Last week my wife saw our first robin, the river's winter roof is caving all over, and a gathering of geese, a real gaggle, creates incessant noise, day and night.
I wouldn't shoot 'em if I could, really, not even for a hungry dorm.
But I'm glad I don't have to clean up after 'em. What a mess--what a noisy, awful mess! Cacophony is what it is, all right. Pure and stinky cacophony.
A thing of beauty.