As the evenings begin to cool off quickly, Canada geese are preparing for fall – honking their way along the water in vast armadas as stately as the tall ships of old. The yellow-y down feathered chicks of spring have become grown, molted into their adult plumage, now fully trained in all the arts of foraging & seakeeping.

Each goose sits erect, poised & stylish, one of many identical to my eye, in a fleet of ships-of-state smoothly gliding along the waterway, their lines in perfect formation with occasional honks to the outliers.

Now a group of six stops mid-sail. Some turn their tailfeathers skyward, necks reaching deep below the water for the choicest weeds as they bob, exposed. Others adopt graceful swoops of the neck as their beaks chomp at the water-top, ruffling the surfaces with a quick clapping of their flat-billed gums. The watchkeepers at either end of the flotilla sit erect, heads a-swivel, alert to the presence of hawk or canoe.

Soon the main body of the flock, now far down the river, is honking in earnest at the renegades. One by one, each goose emerges from their eating activities and hurries along to join the pack, neck stretching forward as they hustle, feet paddling full force, now longing to be part of the larger group. “honk! honk!” Tonight at dusk they circle and swirl into new lines and fly north, joining soon in some Great Goose-Potlach to celebrate the successful nesting, welcome new fledglings, the bounty of the summer feeding, and to prepare for their long journey to warmer climes as an imaginably vast flying caravan.

Honk! Honk! Honk! We Go!

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