Posted by: highmountainmuse | April 14, 2009



A pair of geese has found the marsh out in our pasture

They walk with their proud heads held high

Looming larger than coyotes 

Specs of movement to catch our attention in the ever familiar landscape

The horses lift their heads to see

Then turn away indifferent

No fear, no threat, the geese belong.


Finding their way along the thawing ground

Among the patchwork quilt of snow drifts and mud

Grazing I suppose on the brown tufts of last year’s grass

Preparing to sit, hatch and care for their young.

Others of their kind

Fly in air over head in the early morning hours

As I make my way to the barn to feed our stock.


Crossing the pale lit sky above in pairs

Honking to a rhythm of flapping wings

A communication I don’t quite comprehend

To keep them together or to keep them apart?

In the big wide mountains they call home for half the year.


Their sound is not for me to hear

Of no concern of theirs that I am here

To witness them and all the birds

That have returned to the high mountain

To quickly hatch their offspring

In this safety of a peaceful and providing land

Before the onslaught of the human kind arrive.


Who would guess

Spring is such a noisy season?

After the dormant still silent peace of winter now

With rivers and creeks roaring full force

Brown waters gushing down every crevasse and rivulet

As the snow from the high county sloughs off

Battered by the growing intensity of the sun

A distant rumble of continual thunder

Rocks released from the thawing slopes

Tumbling down the mountain each afternoon.


And the birds, oh the birds, who come here

With the first signs of longer days and budding branching

Do they too find this mountain so beautiful a place?

A short pocket of time to allow them just enough to pair and nest

And find a place away from the summer crowds to raise their young

And prepare them for the inevitable long flight south

All in the short warmer season of the high country

They come and they go.


This morning the mountain is a haven existing only for the birds

Sun over the mountain to the east meets the exposed dirt

Touched by Midas granting instant warmth and light and life

The sky is speckled like confetti with flocks of birds soaring in the rising drafts,

Then lighting all at once on a group of naked aspen

Branches fine and lacy as if sketched by pencil

Decorating their unclothed branches.


We have learned to tell time by the birds

The season’s heralders bringing their song to the once still landscape

Starting with the redwing black bird always first to the big spruce beside our cabin

Followed by the nuthatch, the black bird, the junco, the sparrow.

And as the snow gives way to dirt, so return the snipe and mourning dove

Then suddenly the air is filled with song as the robin and bluebirds announce their return.


Mating rituals, nesting, feeding,

Movements and meaning based on instinct

That which brings them back to the same place on the same mountain year after year

How do they know?  How do they remember?

How do they find their way?


All this effort

Bringing them back home

Season after season

Miles and miles of flapping their wings against with wind and weather

Do they question what it’s all for

Or do they just survive?



  1. love your piece today, BUT you forgot the return of the snow birds , which happens soon.

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