Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Lovely Snow Geese

There's nothing more beautiful on a cold, clear winter day than a gaggle of snow geese. When first you hear them, you can't help but stop whatever it is you are doing, and look up at their black wing-tipped whiteness against the blue sky. 

Although their numbers are much smaller in December than in the spring, they are impressive nonetheless. Like falling snow, they descend into the fields in swirls, circling and circling, their feathers sparkling as they catch the sunlight.

I was working in Geneva, New York the first time I saw the snow geese. Their unusual sound caught my attention; an unfamiliar ruckus of sorts and nothing like our local frequent flyers the Canada Geese. It was more like the baying of hounds, and there were hundreds and hundreds of them in crisscrossing V formations. I was in love!

As I came to look forward to the return of the snow geese, I shared my passion for these lovely birds with my sister while she was visiting one spring. We drove for miles searching the skies for the large masses of snowy white geese. We stopped at every vista, scouring the lakes for their large glacier-like congregations, until we came upon an open field covered in white. We jumped out of the car. There were thousands of snow geese as far as the eye could see. The noise was incredible, even as they took flight in waves and waves of white and black.

Last year some snow geese landed right across the road from our house and stayed for a day or so. However, the snow geese are not the farmers' friends. They forage in the fields, pull the plants by the roots and devastate the crop. But for me, the lovely snow geese are a little piece of heaven in winter.