Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Adrift On The Wind

Chanson d'automne
Les sanglots longs
Des violons
      De l'automne
Blessent mon cœur
D'une langueur
Tout suffocant
Et blême, quand
       Sonne l'heure,
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens
       Et je pleure;
Et je m'en vais
Au vent mauvais
        Qui m'emporte
Deçà, delà,
Pareil à la
        Feuille morte.
              par Paul Verlaine

As I left work today, the sun getting progressively lower on the horizon with the passing of each day, I heard the creaking of many wings. As I looked to my right, I saw a skein of Canada geese heading towards me on an intercept course. They were low and headed north.

Their wings do creak if you listen carefully and they are close enough. These guys were low, barely 50 feet up. I paused to watch them. There were a few honks, I imagine to myself that they are signaling position in the formation and reporting what they see on the ground. I notice the goose nearest me, on the far left of the V. He or she, glances to the right occasionally as if to maintain position on the lead. (As any good wingman does.)

As they passed overhead and then wheeled to their right, I was hoping they would land. It's pretty cool to watch them do so. Gear down (feet down and spread), flaps deployed (wings arched and fixed), they glide in with seemingly little effort. They change positions as they come in with imperceptible movements of those wings. Entire formations land and instantly cover a field if the flock is big enough. I've never seen them collide, even when there is no "Paddles" on the ground to guide them in (or wave them off for that matter).

Landing on the ground they come in like a parachutist with a ram-air 'chute. Their feet are moving when they touch down and they come to a stop within a few feet. On water it's more interesting, they skid in, much like an aircraft with pontoons. Again though, they are down and settled within mere feet.

This bunch didn't land but continued down to the more southerly parts of the grounds where my employer's buildings are situated. Fewer people on the lower stretches of the campus (as the company refers to the grounds). So they can dine, and crap, in peace.

But seeing more and more geese reminds me that summer is gone. The year is winding down and I wonder, what did I accomplish this year? Must I mark the passing years with accomplishments and have goals and all that corporate stuff?

While I play the game, I'm not built that way. If something needs doing, I do it. If I need something, I work for it. I work to support my living, not the other way around.

Life is far too short to worry about such things. I like to float on the wind, going where life takes me, enjoying the ride.

Fall is a beautiful time of year, yet as the sunlit hours grow fewer, as the flowers fade, I'm reminded that this existence is but a short stay on a longer journey.

Autumn Song
The long sobs
Of the violins
      Of autumn
Wound my heart
With a monotonous
All suffocating
And pale, when
      Strikes the hour,
I remember
Days of yore
      And I cry;
And I go
The evil wind
      That carries me
Hither and thither,
Blown as a
      Dead leaf.
             by Paul Verlaine

Oh yes, and John has a long mustache...

(Think D-Day...)


  1. When I saw the title of the post, I thought it would be a D Day post.

    1. Heh.

      I like Verlaine's poem. As it was also one of the poems used to signal the Resistance, I had to throw the "John has a long mustache" clip in there.

  2. Autumn is my favorite time of year, particularly what I think of as Septober, the last two weeks of September, and the first half of October.

  3. Once upon a time, the headquarters of your employer were located on a beautiful campus at the intersection of the Yankee Division Highway and Route 2, with a broad, sweeping green lawn that sloped down to said Route 2. In the years that I worked the third shift providing security for said campus, I came in one evening to much ado about a motorist who had pulled over that fall morning traveling west, stepped out of his vehicle and let go with both barrels of a shotgun at the Canadian geese which had alighted there, to rest up for further travel to warmer climes. Said individual then got back in his car and kept going and no one ever discovered his identity. The President of the company, whose large and richly appointed offices faced the lawn, was convinced that the gunman was after him. Personally. Never mind that that shots were taken at an angle such that the wind would have to have blowing out of the northwest at about 400 mph, with a serious updraft, in order to get the 00 buck anywhere near the building, let alone windows of said President's office. Thereafter, certain Lieutenants of the Guard Force were authorized to pack a sidearm and directed to guard the executive suite. The rest of us guards were allowed to merely continue on our rounds and prevent armed intrusion with whatever was at hand, to wit, a Detex clock. Fun times.

    1. Security at my employer has not improved much since those days.


  4. Whenever I see the geese, and some spend their summers nearby, I almost immediate think of the albatross, so graceful in the air, and a prat fall on the ground.

    There is definitely sign of the change of seaso.
    Not necessarily obvious to visitors here.

    1. The albatross is rather clumsy on the ground, so I've heard.

      We have geese here pretty much year round, but the numbers increase this time of year.

  5. I too am looking forward to Septober. After a comparatively cool August, the high yesterday was a swampy 98. My 7 day deodorant pad didn't have a chance. Bring on the Fall!

    1. It's been a might humid here lately as well, I look forward to the crisp air and the changing colors.

  6. Do ya ever wonder why that V of flying geese has one leg longer than the other???

    Simple, really.

    There's more geese in it.

    /snark off/

    Sorry, just couldn't resist.

    As I'm cleaning the pool on early mornings this last few weeks I've had the pleasure of observing low flights of Canadians overhead. Some so low I could goose hunt with a rake.

    And what's with this fall stuff? We've had triple digit temps here the last two days.

    1. Hahahaha! (Good one.)

      We're having Summer Part Deux for a couple of days, then it's supposed to cool off again.

      Triple digits? Oh my.

  7. Nice post Chris, very contemplative. I have always enjoyed watching ducks, geese, (and the rare loon) land on water. Never get tired of it. Often get to see them on a small lake that I hike around.

    1. I haven't seen a loon (the feathered kind) in quite a while. But cormorants are plentiful in these parts and they are a lot of fun to watch.

      Thanks Ron!

    2. Yes, because Lord knows the unfeathered Loon is very prevalent. (around here they tend to be ID'd by California plates)

    3. The loon population (unfeathered) is pretty high in Little Rhody. And Southern Mass, and Connecticut, and...

  8. Do your cormorants hang out by the lighthouse, with the politians?

    1. The Lighthouse, the politician, and the trained cormorant:

    2. As our politicians are everywhere (rather like cockroaches) no doubt there are some near our many lighthouses. Narragansett Bay has many. Lighthouses that is. The cormorants try to stay out of that mess.

    3. I will give that story a listen when I have the chance, always enjoy a good Holmes story.

  9. Red Dawn, a very popular cruise flick.

    1. Love that film. I had forgotten that scene. Brilliant!


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