It seems appropriate for an author to begin a chapter about Canada geese while monks sing vespers (English translation of “Bring me back home”) to a congregation of people. Geese are perhaps the most renowned face of migratory birds. Across the United States before the winter season, the geese can be found in families eating and stopping along the way to their sojourn to southern and warmer climates.
Canada geese are large and noisy birds. Their wingspan can reach more than six feet and adults can weigh up to 14 pounds. Besides their loud honking when flying in the V-shaped formation overhead, their presence is marked after they leave. In fields around my house, most memorably when I would play fall baseball in early high school, their droppings littered whatever open area they previously occupied. Often, I would run out to my position in the field while trying to avoid geese droppings. At the same time, Terry Tempest William recognizes an aspect of the geese that reflects the complete opposite of my observation of them. Unlike us, Williams explains “In the night journeys of Canada geese, it is the silence that propels them” (Williams 193). I got the sense that Williams was trying to connect the activity of Canada geese with a part of us that is either pushed aside or not entirely realized. She includes the Thomas Merton writing, “Silence is the strength of our interior life…If we fill our lives with silence, then we will live in hope”. Although we are not able to pinpoint the beginning of silence, Canada geese and Merton suggest that life is lived when we look anyways.