I stand on my front deck. I hear a faint sound that confuses me, even as it’s getting louder. It’s the sound of a train coming through.
But the closest train tracks are several miles away . . .
The sound grows louder, gets closer.
It becomes clearer what it is.
That’s no train!
That’s a huge flock of Canada geese, heading our way.
The temps are in the 80s, the leaves are still green, the grass still needs to be mowed.
But it’s autumn. The geese tell me so. They insist.
Dozens, nay, hundreds, of Canada geese visit our bay at this time of year. In November, they’ll give way to snow geese.
The Canada geese are the early harbingers of fall. And they sound really, really excited about it.
They sit out there in the bay and yak among themselves. They squawk and they chuckle and they chortle. They yip and they yap. They sounds like they’re laughing, and arguing, and announcing important news.
They get quiet and then for no discernible reason, they start in again, all at once, raising a ruckus.
They chat early, early in the morning, well before first light, and they are the last sound I hear before drifting off to sleep.
It not just their voices I hear. When a flock comes in, I can hear the beating of all those wings and the splish as they hit the water.
And when they leave, it’s never a quiet “exit, stage left.” They leave with noise and splashing and flapping and a big huzzah.
It seems they must be communicating; it can’t all be sound and fury, signifying nothing.
I’d love to know what they’re saying. Is the meeting in Monty’s Bay the equivalent of a block party, a meet and greet with neighbors? Or is it more a high school reunion, seeing friends they haven’t seen for years?
Are they talking about how they spent their summer vacation? The sights they saw up north? Or are they planning the upcoming trip, deciding where to stay and where to eat. That’s what we talk about when planning a trip . . .
They sound pretty happy and excited, but sometimes they sound cranky and argumentative. I imagine them arguing over who gets to fly first, out in that big point in the V in the sky.
“It’s my turn! You did it last time!”
“Well, I’m better at it than you! You led us to Kansas. Who wants to got to Kansas?!”
“How come I never get to be in front? I’m tired of looking at your back end!”
“You can’t be in front, you’re a girl!”
“You sexist gander, you!”
They all talk at once, nobody seems to be listening. It’s enough to make a person think of American politics . . . well, never mind.
Autumn in upstate New York smells like campfire. It tastes like a Northern Spy apple and cider doughnuts. It looks like maple trees with leaves aflame.
And it sounds like Canada geese.
What does autumn sound like in your neck of the woods?