Great Pond

I am dressed for a hike in the sunlight. 
My gear is made for a crisp 
November 52 degrees. 
Long sleeve dry weave, 
Solid hiking pants. 
5 minutes in it’s raining. 
Sure the shirt is wicking water, 
But it’s not made for the heavy stuff. 
The rain stops. 
I step along and look up. 
Contrasting cloud greys: 
Dense scudders looming  
Dark against the eggshell white background. 

5 minutes later 
More rain, heavy at times. 
I laugh as the dog and I  
Get soaked. 
I laugh because I believe we should laugh 
Humans should laugh 
When we’re getting soaked, 
Especially if it’s 
On a relatively warm day 
And a car not far away. 
Even if it’s 2020. 

Especially if it’s 2020. 

5 minutes later it’s hail: 
small pellets,  
hat bill clickers, 
Rock tickers, 
Ricocheting off trees onto me. 
Not big enough to hurt the dog. 

Again I grin, a little more fiercely, 
Since sudden winter is here. 

I am near the Pond, 
Between Great Tree 
And Brain Rock 
When the geese invade the sleet and rain. 

The elders shout from below 
as the birds rise.  
Final orders as they take flight 
Into the harsh squall. 

Squads arise, 
some climbing steeply to clear the near trees, 
Others pulling themselves in an arc, 
Straightening to fly out into the lengthening sky. 
Screaming as they rise, 
Shaping the V  
That they drag by its sharp point 

The last large group climbs, 
Turns, 
Forms, 
Their shouting recedes  
To squabbling calls. 

In this quiet, 
Small groups take off and I  
I learn to listen to their rise from the water. 
It is a tight sound  
No matter how many wings ascend: 
One rustling splash, 
Bass deep 
But brief. 

One group, 
seven geese. 
Fly toward where I stand 
Face to the sky. 
And I hear 14 wings beating. 
Creating the wind cushion  
That unites their flight. 
Hear the earie whistle  
Of pinions whispering from wing tips 
That are as sharp as a quill. 

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