I am sitting on the love seat with my laptop, doomscrolling, when the background sound encroaches on my consciousness: Mixed in with the woosh of tires rolling along the Highway to Paradise up the hill, the cries of hundreds of Canada geese launching into the sky for their journey to wherever it is they go when they’re not nesting near the waters of Green Bay.
It’s a forlorn, wistful sound — “Goodbye! Goodbye! Take care! Goodbye!” over and over as bird after bird takes to the sky and they take their positions in V after V after V. Of course, sunrise is still nearly an hour away, so the sound is all that carries through the air, and we can only imagine the bustling Grand Central Station of it all.
It’s part of the fall, this great migration, this cacophony of leaving, and the sky will become as quiet as it is cold for the next few months. I already know the sound that will break the silence and declare, “We made it! And now spring.” It will be the trill of a red-winged blackbird, back from wherever the blackbirds go. Sure as daffodils poking up to defy the frozen soil, the blackbirds’ return will signal the end of winter.
I’m getting ahead of myself. First the leaves must finish falling, then the snow must fall and cover the earth for many weeks, and we must endure the silence.
I ache, listening to the geese’s cries fading in the sky, but I know, Lord willing, I will hear those cries again, this time a cacophony of “Here we are! Here we are!” as the green creeps back and life starts over again, sometime around my birthday in March, six (!) months on from here.
For now, though, it’s “Here we go! Here we go! Goodbye!” and I’m grateful I took the time to stand on the deck and listen and to see them on their way, at least in my mind’s eye.
For moments like this, the word cacophony was coined.