What the Wind Has Made

A Flurry of Geese, Quinebaug Valley Trout Hatchery, Central Village, CT.  November, 2013.

I’m at my family home in Moosup for the holiday and Wilson and Molly and I went to the Trout Hatchery on the Quinebaug River in Central Village.  This hatchery grows a half a million pounds of trout each year for restocking the ponds and rivers in Connecticut.  It attracts ducks and geese and blue heron and sea gulls and hawks and in the last year or so, bald eagles.   I went early and stayed long, hoping to get some good bird pictures.

The picture above happened unexpectedly when I was trying to creep up on some heron.  A flock of geese burst upward and I heard the flurry of wings behind me.  I turned, reflexively taking a wild and lucky shot. The only other opportunity came later when four heron flew straight over my head, proud, well-illuminated, calling to each other, close and beautiful.  And what was I doing at that moment?  Changing lenses.  Welcome to bird photography.

Hunters came to the woods and the birds went into hiding.  I took to the fields to see the milkweed seedpods I’ve particularly loved since childhood.  It was easy to imagine a world… fairies in orderly choirs, riding their seed parachutes, living in pod houses. 

Now they evoke in me a tender sadness… about the last moments where the life that used to be summer is offered to the wind.  The seedpods wait, one sliver open, so fragile I could change everything by brushing by, but they hold their place and time happens and they open a little more, and more threads and more waiting and more wind and more opening and more endurance in these delicate things.  And finally, what’s left is a grey and golden shell and the seeds have gone everywhere. 

I was thinking about it… about the wings and seeds, and it occurred to me that they were created by the wind.  I mean, without the wind to hold them up and carry them they never would have been the way they are.  They are perfect together.. the wings and the wind; the seeds and the wind.  I like this.  It makes me think there is a way to live easily with the earth.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah, everyone.