March 24, 2005

Spring has arrived in Central New York, with the traditional change from snow to freezing rain. The old snow remains, dirty and glazed, and the trees, though still bare, do not look altogether dead. Buoyed by the change of season and prodded by the need to make a living, I drove over to Rochester for a video edit. I was not expecting much from the New York State Thruway; the stretch from Syracuse to Buffalo is flat and boring on the best of days, and by getting off at Rochester, I would not even get to see the Batavia Turf Farms.

But a little after 8 a.m., something up in the sky caught my eye, two black V’s of geese flying north, a real hint of spring. And then, in between them, higher in the sky, one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life, a silver and white V of snow geese came into sight, their chests and wings lit from beneath by the rising sun, a shimmering chain of silver. I wished I was not alone, and I couldn’t wait to tell Laurie.

And I thought, “Well, nothing can top that today.” But half an hour later I was proved wrong. One second the sky was a dusty, empty, pale blue, and the next it exploded with white, alive with thousands of snow geese, thousands, taking off from a farmer’s field to my right. It was as if a giant lace cloth was hurled across the sky, and every white strand was living, flying, shining. Wavy lines began to form as the geese rose and sought out their leader and their place, and all I wanted to do was stop and gaze up at that all day long. But it was changing every second, and the geese had to turn north just as I had to go west.


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