Signs of the Season

I don’t have a picture to show you today, much as I wanted to take one. When I’m driving on the highway it isn’t advisable to whip out the phone and take a picture of something happening at the side of the road. That is how accidents happen.

Twice on the weekend though, on the same road, I saw what I consider to be the first signs of Fall or perhaps even Winter. And it wasn’t the leaves on the trees changing colour.

There is a field I pass by on a regular basis, part of the Greenbelt, and area of Ottawa left deliberately undeveloped. Some of it is forest, but this particular field is being farmed, though by this time in September the crop has been harvested and there is just stubble left.

That is probably why the field every year becomes the staging point for hundreds of Canada geese gathering for their annual migration to the south. I have always assumed they choose that particular field because the harvesting process leaves something that they can eat. Gotta stock up for that long trip south. Actually, I don’t know if it is a long trip – maybe they just go to Montreal.

To me all geese look pretty much alike, so I don’t know if they field is a one-day stop or whether the birds gather there for a few days, waiting for the flock to reach a certain number before they take off.

The gathering of birds though is a sign that summer is over. It just didn’t seem like it this weekend with blazing sunshine and daytime highs of about 30 degrees Celsius. Normally when I see geese in the fields the fields themselves are kind of a brown colour, almost matching the birds themselves.

As urban dweller we don’t pay all that much attention to the changing seasons. In the city, especially downtown in all that concrete, it is easy to miss the little things that signify that Summer is over, Fall is passing by and Winter is on the horizon.

The geese don’t forget though. It may feel like summer to me, but they know it is time to get ready to leave.

I wonder if there is a theological lesson there. The geese aren’t allowing themselves to be fooled by fair weather. They know Winter will be here soon and they need to prepare. How easily are we fooled?

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