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Goose music

caleb.eckert's picture
I felt much more calm during my methodical guided walk than I had when blocking out time (also methodical) for this site visit. The snow told me my footsteps were not the first ones towards the site, but they looked like the only ones in the site itself. As I walked, wandering thoughts were interrupted by a chorus of voices somewhere overhead, goose music erupting before I saw slender black necks rise over the rooftop nearby. Like me, they circled as well. Their music followed clockwise as their bodies turned left and spiraled down to the frozen pond below. Aldo Leopold's essay on goose music brushed my mind, but I wasn't thinking of losing goose music so much as I was letting go and just listening. A beautiful cacophony? An intimate discussion? A lively conversation? A vibrant chorus? I don't think words can describe, much less decipher, what language they spoke and the things they communicated this dusk. The sun had set, and it was time for their nightly reunion.

Each of my own steps felt more intentional, more slow. I became hyperaware of the cracks and crunch of snow beneath my boots, ice squeaking and shattering, sounding as though the ground itself would collapse beneath my weight. For a few brief moments, balance seemed impossible. This slow motion contact between sole and snow reminded me how miraculous it is to walk, to circle around, to spiral towards a point like my musical neighbors. Each time I closed my eyes and completed a step, I felt that I let something go—maybe the stress of the upcoming week, maybe the distance between thinking and feeling. For the future, I'd like to explore (in the woods site and elsewhere) what it would be like to close my eyes and feel with my ears and feet and better train myself to take in that goose music.