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October 17, 2008



Snow geese. And in this landscape. Further North, wider-open spaces than I have ever seen. Wow. How beautiful. How magical. Thank you (and J for the other photos)

I love your beautiful descripiton,"...as an entire flock snow geese slowly descended into the middle of the lake like an apparition, or as it seemed to me a passage between worlds."
Last Saturday during my morning run, when I stopped to tie my shoe lace, I heard their voices in the sky, when I looked up, it was the exact of switching the pilot moment. The sixth goose in the left of V shape flew to the front to take a pilot position. The fifth goose took the sixth spot, the fourth took the fifth, the third took the fourth, the second took the third and the former pilot slid into a second spot. It took my breath way watching their smooth transition. I realized I had stopped breathing when I gasped for air.

How lovely. I've thought too of the peregrine and pilgrimages and the road between them. (I had written "pilgrims" but realized that, like most Americans, my image of pilgrims is largely constrained to Europeans in funny hats and far removed from any conception of pilgrimages. How much our grade schooling shapes our lives!)

Wonderful story to wake up to this morning. And good questions to ponder all day... Thank you!

Amazing story of the appearance of the snow geese after your grandfather's death! I can see how that would make the snow geese special for you, worthy of a pilgrimage to see them. I love your last paragraph, and J's photos.

Enjoyed hearing the apparition story again in this new context. It takes a great writer to weave a compelling essay around a missed quarry! Peter Mathiesson is one of my favorite prose writers, and I think the Snow Leopard sticks in my mind more than any of his other books.


'A route stretching forward beyond language, and back to a time before tongues'reminded me of the great ending of 'A River Runs Through it'
Hard to imagine higher praise than that

My own inarticulateness, in the face of the emotions the geese arouse in me, tells me I'm in the place that contains fire and the great waterfalls; the sound of the hermit thrush and the flash of a school of bright minnows; a silent shaft of sun on moss in a dark woodland. The snow geese fly in that space of porosity between myself and the rest of nature, following a map imprinted in my own marrow, a route stretching forward beyond language, and back to a time before tongues.

*appreciative sigh*


Next month I am going to go see sandhill cranes. I am very much looking forward to it.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.