Some small towns have those seasons when tourists arrive in droves. They buzz like noisy bees, poke into nooks and crannies like rude in-laws, and then, they disappear just as quickly as dew on the morning grass. They come for the spring colors, or the summer waves, or fall leaf changes or winter skiing. Thank goodness they only stay through the peak because they are not shy in revealing their presence. They actually act as if they were the owners and not the visitors!
Well, my small river has its tourists as well - the geese from Canada. The "early birds" arrive just as fall winds get cold and the rest of the mob crashes in ahead of winters nor'easter. They laugh and call to each other and generally fill the river with discord as the sun sets. They are nightlife zealots and the party lasts until well after midnight. The males in the center of the river and the gals swimming around the edges. Then in what can only be called a drunken stupor, they finally sleep it off muttering gently through their night dreams with heads tucked under wings until the sun reaches the horizon.
Once morning is pale pink this cabal begins again a noisy cacophony that only a dysfunctional family reunion could mimic. The noise carries for miles across the water on the cold air.
"My side! My side"
"Wake up you sloth!"
"We are going this way!"
"Your mother wears army boots!"
"Your mother doesn't migrate!"
And on and on they call and honk until finally the noisiest one begins a chant that seems to resonate - "Your left, your left, you left, right, left."
And, as the sun reveals its golden glory, there is much slapping of wings on the top of the water and increasing noise and bellowing and with much effort they leave the surface. They move like low flying cargo planes or heavy laden bombers skimming the water, gaining elevation only over time, heading in the direction of distant dormant corn fields.
They leave behind tufts of white floating on the glassy surface and cast against the shore. An unbelievable quiet fills the air as if the river has just sighed...until the next evening when it is repeated all over again.