The song, "So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedershen," one of my favorites from "The Sound of Music," is used as a subterfuge to allow the von Trapp family to escape the waiting Nazis. As each in turn sings a verse, he exits the stage with a final wave to the audience. It is a quiet departure, meant to be secretive and unobserved.
There is thus no connection to the geese - my geese - except as they loudly honk their third farewell, the song popped into my mind where it apparently intends to remain.
We are galloping toward mid-October. Some days remain blessedly warm though the nights require heavier blankets and quilts. As I wake, I grow aware that the color beyond the bedroom window is sliding into more definite oranges while touches of green grow further apart.
The geese are still here. Two especially seem reluctant to leave. I hear them now during the night and, occasionally, as they depart noisily far earlier than I wish to wake. But, with few exceptions, the lake remains bare of any sightings of geese or, now, even the ducks. We are halfway through the "nuisance" goose season without a neighboring shot being fired.
The birds have no reason to think of warmer climes though of course they are.
Ten - or 12 - now become 30, 40, even more.
The Vs overhead are growing distinct as flying discipline is established. The bin of cracked corn has again been refilled but sits day after day with no takers. Secure from marauding mice, it will be waiting in the spring.
I have no idea if geese hold allegiance. Obviously they know it here - the water, the corn - and will return next spring.
I swear they come now to say goodbye. Huge flights circling low overhead are truly a sign of the season. Coincidence? I prefer to think not.
Seventies earlier this week and much needed sunshine (for the unheated house is chilly indeed). Holes for spring bulbs are being dug as I continue to attack new weeds and grasses along a long bank of pachysandra. Except for the dance of lights, the surface of the lake is empty.
I hear the geese long before they fly into view. I place the honking to the west, looking up as it shifts northerly in time to see them approach over the house from the east. A V of 30 or more, a second wedge, a third V finally combining as they fly toward the south, turn and come directly over me.
I drop my trowel (and probably my mouth) as I look up. The sight - and noise - leaves me breathless as they head north again.
They turn then and circle directly overhead a second time - and then a third.
Some will land and stay a while. Many - most - go on to someplace else. But can there be any question they stopped just to say goodbye?
Susan Crossett is a Cassadaga resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org