Geese are on the move. There were hundreds grazing in the meadow one day last week; often, a group of them skim over the treetops by the house talking loudly. I don’t know if they are saying farewell or just making plans for the miles ahead, but it’s always inspiring to watch how they travel, changing leaders and making use of whatever the wind offers.
We have a contingent of blue jays lately, which is rare here. I know most people hate them but in spite of their bossy ways and raucous call we are pleased when they show up. They never stay long, and generally we get a couple or three, but I’ve counted up to a dozen in this group. They too are stoking up for the long journey ahead.
I finally washed windows last week. It’s safe now that the barn swallows have left. As usual, I spotted a few streaks but am not inclined to remove screens to remedy the situation. That whole deal is my least favorite chore, and there’s a limit to my perfectionist side, although my husband would probably argue that point.
One thing I have missed this fall is blackbirds gathering on fence lines and crowding into the treetops to make enough noise to raise the dead. Evidently, they left all of a sudden when we had that first snow.
Gophers have increased their activity in the yard. Bruce and the cats are doing their best to dimmish the population but can’t get ahead. It seems like they always increase their efforts to dig up the lawn just before winter, but I’m amazed that even when snow flies there will be an occasional new mound.
Coyotes seem to be bolder of late. We hear more of them, and the cat population has decreased, but owls and eagles could well be to blame for that. The litter of black kittens are now motherless, but they were ready to be weaned anyhow. We had that mama for a long time and she always had four black kittens. She was the last of the Siamese colored ones we got as kittens from a neighbor some dozen years back.
There’s a rare phenomenon that we see out here now and then in the fall. I reckon few town folks have noticed it because you need to have a long view across a meadow and be out at a certain time of day. I was changing sprinklers on one of those absolutely still days that we had last week, and thinking of the way our friend Andy Wilkinson describes that weather in a song. “You can’t stir the day with a spoon…”
On that afternoon, with the sun starting to descend, I looked westward at the gossamer web that lay over the whole meadow. Each blade of grass gleamed, and a few silky strands hung from a low branch. I always wonder how many small creatures it takes to cover so many acres and where they go when the job is done.
A few days later, coming home from town I saw the webs again on a field where several horses were cooperating on fly control and couldn’t help wondering why more humans can’t seem to find that natural tendency to work together and solve problems in quiet ways that beautify and enhance the world. Maybe we just need to get outdoors more.