Change of Seasons

Twice each year in the Northern tier states of the United States bordering Canada, there’s one sign I see, far more accurate than any groundhog named Phil, definitely more accurate than any weatherman on the local news, about the state of the seasons.

Canadian Geese.

Around April, I start to see the skein (they’re called this term when flying) of geese coming from the south heading north as the earth tilts to the south.  That means, the Northern Hemisphere is heading into it’s warmest time of the year – spring and summer. The geese coming in are a definite sign of that happening.  Oh, there can be snow melting around them.  But in the spring, they gather and, honestly, it’s both amusing and amazing.  They’re in mass swarms and land just about anywhere.

But what is truly amazing to me?  How they fly.  It’s gorgeous, graceful, in a beautiful formation in a perfect sense of synchronization.  And there’s a natural order to it all.  In a formation, it’s both synchronization but natural efficiency.  When there’s wind going against them, the formation can aid them greatly.  If one falls behind, they encounter resistance and rejoin the group to take advantage of the power of the group.  The power of the group cuts down on the energy used in that synchronous “V” formation.

If the leader becomes fatigues, he shifts to the end of the formation allowing another to shift to the head of the “V” formation.  The workload is evenly distributed – and that’s essential because they travel thousands of miles from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere.  It happens again as the weather changes to fall in the north, which is happening now.

Again, efficiency and synchronicity as a part of nature.

As they fly in that formation, you ever notice the quacking sounds the geese make?  It’s not just to be obnoxious.  It’s also a natural process.  And it also demonstrates synchronization as the quacking noises are often perfectly timed to be as close to being in unison as possible.  It’s a signal – to ensure that all are still within the group first of all. Second, that sound encourages the leaders to keep going and it ensures that the entire group stays together by maintaining the same speed.

Another part of their amazing formation – if one drops out due to illness or injury.  Others drop out to fly with that one goose to protect it and stay with it until it either dies or can fly again at full strength.  But none of them are ever far from the main formation – it’s the energy of the group that is keeping that separate group to also be protected and to allow for their energy to be used efficiently.

And that beautiful formation is absolutely fascinating to watch.

geese-v formation
Migrating Geese

At some point, many start to drop to the ground and stay on the ground.  In the spring, it’s adorable to see the goose (the female), the gander (the male) and a long string of chicks in-between them in a straight line – perfect synchronization – crossing a street stopping traffic to get to the nearest pond.  The feet of the chicks are going at a blinding pace in perfect syncopation.  The gander is at the rear ensuring the line is straight and in formation.  If anyone dares to interfere, they attack viciously.  It’s rather fascinating and humorous.  In some of the neighborhoods where I live, there are “Duck Crossing” signs posted.

Gathering the family together


family of canada geeseRight now, the chicks have grown and will be making the trip south with their parents as part of the skein.  They’re gathering in groups on the ground now here in Minnesota – they’re drifting south from Canada.  It’s already cooling down.  That means in a matter of weeks, the weather here will be cooler, crisper and it will clearly be Fall.  And also, very soon, the vocal sounds of the geese flying in their beautiful “V” formations will begin anew, all to keep each other motivated as they make the thousands of mile trek back south to avoid the harsh winter of the Northern Hemisphere.  It’s pure synchronicity of nature and it is one that happens twice a year, each year and it is fascinating and beautiful to watch and to marvel at the instincts of animals.Synchronize

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