The sound poured through the partly open window and nudged me from sleep.

“They’re back,” I thought.  I was immediately awake. I jumped from bed, threw on some clothes and raced down the stairs, the dog behind me.

Out through the kitchen, Mom calling, “No breakfast!”

“Later,” I said, rushing into the shed and grabbing a coat.  Out the back door and up the path over the ridge, the sound became louder.  Down the sandy track on the other side, across the road and down the bank of the cove.

There they were, hundreds, perhaps thousands of Canadian Geese spread out over the cove, all honking at once.  The cove was alive, geese feeding, taking off and landing.  Taffy was beside herself, barking hysterically.

I sat on the bank with my arm around Taffy, trying to calm her.  There was so much to see; overload.  The birds seemed almost unafraid as they fed along the mud banks and in the shallows.  It seemed as though I was looking at a thousand clones, but gradually differences between them became apparent, until I could almost tell them apart, could even give them names.

Gradually, they began to take off, separating from the general mass, sorting themselves out and forming the V-shaped formations so familiar to most.  Do they rejoin the same flocks?  If so, how?  Does anyone know, or even care?

In what seemed like a very short time, the cove was empty, the last flocks disappearing over the ridge which formed the valley.  I got up and brushed myself off.  Time to go.  “Come Taffy.”  We retraced our path over the ride and back to the kitchen.

Mom was at the stove.  “Pancakes okay?” she asked.

“I guess,” I answered.

“What was the hurry earlier?”

“Geese,” I said, “lots of them.”

“Don’t forget,” Dad said from his place at the table, “the rubbish barrels have to be at the roadside shortly, and don’t forget the furnace.”

Reality intrudes again.