…Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
~Mary Oliver from “Wild Geese”
Snow geese are populating the Skagit valley and farm land, as numerous as the scores of colorful tulips which soon will fill nearby fields. The din of the flocks as they land and feed, then rise again in the air is astounding: a symphony of honks and hollers carried from one goose family to another in a ruckus of joyful abandon.
The Skagit flats become the New York City of snow geese for a few weeks, never sleeping.
Over the past few years, more snow geese wander up north closer to home here in Whatcom County to pepper our surrounding dormant cornfields like salt, sprinkled half a dozen here and there across the Nooksack river valley. When there are only a few together, their calling seems so melancholy, almost a disconsolate cry of abandonment carrying over the lonely countryside.
So too am I ensconced away from the clamorous masses, preferring always to be part of an out-of-the-way rural landscape. There may be moments of melancholy, to be sure. Yet here, as nowhere else, I know my place in the family of things — of gray clouds, owl hoots, swampy wetlands, frog choruses, orange sunsets, pink sunrises, warm pony muzzles, budding snowdrops, and steaming manure piles.
I give myself up to wild abandon in a world offering itself up to my imagination instead of leaving nothing to the imagination.
Let the cities clamor and clang in their excitement. They do just fine without me.
Instead I celebrate the relative silence that allows me to seek words to fit the music singing in my soul.