August 30, 2018

Canada geese, after leaving Mallard Lake,
are walking uphill, their webbed feet
like flippers flapping beneath the wetsuit
of their bodies. They move like heavyset
ladies who have lifted their curvaceous
selves from a swimming pool, fulsome
and luscious in their beauty. They walk
in single file as if queuing up for some-
thing so wonderful, it is worth the wait.
But it’s the same old grass, the same old
hill, though leaning over it are trees and
from the trees fall leaves through which
the sun shines, turning every leaf to gold.
And the lake they left behind continues
to beckon, so many will soon turn back
to it—its mirrored surface reflecting the
scudding clouds and limbs not yet barren
of their once-bountiful foliage. And all
the while, the geese honk as if they are
irritable drivers stuck in traffic, yet they
can take flight any time and some do—
leaving behind the hill, the trees, the lake,
their fellow travelers—everything that
holds them to the ground. Because even
when geese fly in formation, each goose
takes off alone, flapping its own wings,
finding its place in a vast expanse of sky
where even a solitary bird separates the
waters above the earth from the waters
below, as necessary and important to this
world as anything God has ever made.