Friday, December 15, 2006

A Patterned Sky

Yesterday, early on in the ritualistic walk around the block with my dog, I spied a perfectly fine plastic bucket that had been put out with someone's trash. Remembering all the times I had searched in vane for the bucket we have, I snapped it up before its useful life could be cut short by the giant maw of a garbage truck. Around the corner, I got a strange look from a passerby. Small dog, big bucket--she must have wondered what I was expecting little Leo to produce during our walk.

These walks, short as they are, seem to make the dog's day. For him, it must be like checking email or reading the newspaper. Sniffing about, he gets updates on who's been in the 'hood, and may well pick up on subtleties of mood, health--who knows what all a nose can read about the world.

If not for kids and a dog, I might know little of this town. Certainly I wouldn't have seen the spectacular migration of geese the other day, flying high over the park as Leo kept his nose to the ground. There was a first wave, with maybe seven "V"s constantly shifting, merging, breaking off to form new configurations. Then another wave even bigger, and another. Five waves in all, with "V"s as populous as 100 birds, and waves of 3-5 hundred each. Counting distracted from my transfixion on the beauty of the patterns that abundance can make. Their calls were not the raucous complaint of geese flying into a local pond, but were sparse and melodious as they drifted down from great height.

Whether they were truly migratory geese or the variety that stick around all winter only a birder could guess at. By the time I got home, they would be halfway across the county, their morning's ambitions far greater than mine, for some reason taking them northwest on a late autumn day.

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