minnehaha falls and back
Ran to the falls and discovered that they were still plowing the trails around the park this morning. Had to stop and walk a few times in the deepest, most uneven parts. Sunny, barely any wind. Soon into the run, I was warm, then hot.
10 Things I Noticed
- From a distance and through the tree trunks, the river was burning white
- Off to the side and just below, the river was flat and off-white with splotches of light brownish-green or greenish-brown
- I could hear the sound of rushing water at the falls, but all I could see was several big ice columns
- Near the longfellow fountain (which never has water, not even in the summer, but does have parts of “The Song of Hiawatha” etched on the low wall curving around it), at the edge of the bluff, the view to the falls was as clear as I’ve ever seen it. No leaves or stray branches getting in the way
- Childhood having fun at their school playground, yelling and laughing
- Several different wedges of geese honking
- Packed down snow from feet, skis, sleds criss-crossing the big open part of the park above the fall, near John Stevens House
- The elegant, pleased (it looked like it was smiling) curve of the retaining wall on the Winchell Trail near 42nd street
- Mr. Morning! and Santa Claus
- 2 older walkers on the trail, one of them pushing their walker through the snow
I’m still working on my haunting poems. I’m hoping to do one specifically about bells and clocks. As I ran I thought about rhythms and beats: the steady beat of my feet on the trail, the triple counts I was chanting (strawberry/blueberry/raspberry/river road/trestle bridge), and the lone geese honking repeatedly. I tried to match my feet to its honks, which didn’t work. Then I tried to count the beats between each honk. It was not steady. I wondered, why do geese honk when they’re flying? I looked it up: to keep the flock together and coordinated in the V. Visibility is low so the honks let them know where each other are. Are all the honks the same, or does each goose have a slightly different one? Why aren’t they in a steady rhythm — or, are they, and I just don’t hear it?
Here’s some more information about the Canadian Geese and their 13 different vocalizations: Canada Goose Vocalizations
Almost every time I hear a geese honk, I think of Mary Oliver’s geese and their harsh and exciting cries, but there are other wild geese poems. Here’s one I don’t think I’ve encountered before:
Something Told the Wild Geese / Rachel Field
Something told the wild geese
It was time to go.
Though the fields lay golden
Leaves were green and stirring,
But beneath warm feathers
All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spice,
But each wild breast stiffened
At remembered ice.
Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly,—
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry.
My understanding is that geese fly south before it gets too cold and before the snow flies, just like the poem states. So why were there so many geese up in the sky today? Is it a result of the climate crisis, or something else? I found a National Geographic article but it’s behind a paywall. The little bit of it I could read was about how geese migration is complicated; geese are finding suburbs a pleasing place to stay year round. Another article I found mentioned that in the 1950s, fearing their extinction, wildlife agencies in some states introduced new flocks that were raised in captivity and never learned to migrate. They are still flocks of wild migrating geese, but also lots of “not wild” geese. Looks like this question has many different answers.