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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Snow Geese

I don't remember ever feeling a chilly wind in the northeast in August until last night on my way home from work. August 15th! It reminded me of autumn, and that reminded me of snow geese.

My favorite place to see migrating snow geese is the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Galloway, New Jersey, where I took these pictures last year. The geese begin to arrive there in October. Their numbers peak from mid-November to med-December when the flocks are so large that the water and the sky are often white with them and the place is noisy with the sounds of honking geese.
Snow geese, Chen caerulescens. Click to enlarge.
Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
The bird on the left is wearing a collar band. It must be part of a scientific tracking study. 

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