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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: Flying South

© Another Day in the Country

This morning I saw a flock of geese flying south — whatever south means to geese. Is it Oklahoma? Texas? Mexico? Wherever their destination, they were headed out. For all I know, they could very well have been going south to Marion Lake or south to Junior’s milo field.

I grinned to myself, since no one else was around, because I was remembering a joke my grandson told to me. “You know how geese always fly in a ‘V’ formation. Well, do you know why one side is always longer than the other?”

Well, do you know? I didn’t. I wasn’t even going to guess because I was sure there would be wonderful information on wildlife coming forth that had been gleaned from some nature program on public television. After an appropriate length of time for meager contemplation, I shook my head. “No, I don’t know.”

“It’s because there are more geese on the long side.” Okay, okay, perhaps it is early in the morning as you read this; but you should at least break a smile and smiles are good for your health.

I actually heard the geese before I saw them this morning. As I’ve told you often enough, the quiet of a small town is perhaps its greatest charm and this morning that quiet allowed me to hear the geese. First, I heard my rooster. Then I heard the neighbor’s dog.

The rooster, the dog, and I had already heard the train go through. And then, in the rather early morning silence — the geese. I heard them before I saw them. Hearing them reminded me of my mother who had such a huge appetite for all things in nature and managed to pass on that hunger for knowledge to me.

Hearing the geese also reminded me that in spite of the deceptively warm weather, winter is coming — perhaps even hints of it later this week. Maybe we’ll have our first frost of the fall season and I’m not ready.

In the lovely weather we’ve been having with warmth and rain, my garden is supremely happy, putting out fruit, tomatoes blooming, zinnias blooming, morning glories blooming. What? Did I say “Morning glories? The scourge of my vegetable garden.” I fight morning glory vines from the first hint of spring until that killing frost. I burn the plants, which doesn’t seem to kill the seed. It was just one lapse of judgment, one romantic notion, years ago, thinking that those stray morning glories looked pretty with their bright blue blossoms, looked lovely sharing company on the wire cages with the tomato vines. I didn’t get rid of them, and they multiplied until every year I fight the sneaky morning glory vines, especially in the spring and sure enough, there they are again, with their cheeky smiles in October.

Beautiful as it is in Kansas, this time of year, I almost envy the geese flying south. I think it would be great fun to take a jaunt with friends to a warmer climate. We’d chatter our way across the Tallgrass Prairie, admiring the spectacular view, honking at friends.

The winter wheat coming up in the fields turns Marion County into one huge golf green. The trees are turning color and even the weeds in the ditches, this time of year, are spectacular — splashed with hues of gold, brick red and burnt umber.

Just in case you wondered, I am learning to use my new smart phone. I texted my daughter and asked, “Do you hear the geese where you are?” She immediately texted back that sometimes they’d see them in the distance over the Napa Valley, but couldn’t ever hear them.

Aren’t we lucky? You know, we could be stuck in traffic somewhere or working in some high-rise from 9 to 5. Instead, we get to spend another day in the country.

Last modified Oct. 30, 2014

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