Good morning everyone,
I was driving past an old mill pond yesterday when I spied a few buffleheads. They are quite skittish. I am no ornithologist but assume they are migrating through on their way to central and western Canada to their summer breeding grounds. We see them in large numbers during the winter months. They disappear in the summer. I suspect I will not be seeing many more buffleheads this season. I wish them fair and following winds on the trip.
There were also several Canadian geese. Year-round residents, seem commonplace. Golfers and park visitors love their "fertilizer." Some folks say we have too many but that is only because of their tendency to congregate where people want to congregate, near the water, where there is food.
I will never forget the impression left on me by Aldo Leopold's "Sand County Almanac". I was a senior in high school when I read it. In those days I was passionately worried about the fate of the planet. I still am. But that is a story for another time.
In this "Sand County Almanac" Leopold describes what he calls "goose music." I was outside, standing in the field, enjoying the stars the other night when I heard the song. What is so special about goose music? There is a wildness in the goose music, singing as they fly along in standard "V" formation. Guided by the stars, the landscape, some internal compass, and subtle cues we miss, they fly their way northward. Wildness has a certain mystery…one where we are as much prey as we are predators. One where we are not the most important critter on the planet; even if we have the largest impact.
Windjamming here in Maine is one way I like to share that wildness with folks who don't get to experience it every day. There is an old proverb about mosquitoes showing us our place in the universe. Nothing makes folks feel more powerless or ruins a good night's sleep more than a lone mosquito buzzing unseen nearby. There is no amount of money or power or fame or anything that can stop the madness created by the 2 AM mosquito. Thankfully we have screens on all the doors and windows. It may seem like a small thing aboard a schooner but fresh air without mosquitoes is a godsend. Put that in your matrix when you are trying to figure out which schooner to sail aboard.
Meanwhile, back at the geese (we were talking about geese) and wildness. Here is a short quote from "A Sand County Almanac:"
“One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of a March thaw, is the spring. A cardinal, whistling spring to a thaw but later finding himself mistaken, can retrieve his error by resuming his winter silence. A chipmunk, emerging for a sunbath but finding a blizzard, has only to go back to bed. But a migrating goose, staking two hundred miles of black night on the chance of finding a hole in the lake, has no easy chance for retreat. His arrival carries the conviction of a prophet who has burned his bridges. A March morning is only as drab as he who walks in it without a glance skyward, ear cocked for geese.”
Be well. Do Good. Capt Bar