I was standing on the lake bank today, looking out over the reeds and water, enjoying a beautiful fall day. I had been gathering some fine manure/soil to use as potting soil so I was wearing my headphones and mp3 player, listening to podcasts. Over the talking, however, I could hear some swans in the distance so I took the headphones off and just stood there for several minutes. I could see, off to my left and probably a half mile away, a group of white shapes whose size and sounds told me were Trumpeter Swans. Straight out in front of me I could hear what sounded to be quite a large flock of Whistler swans. The sounds of both were somewhat faint, uplifting yet calming. Also in front of me, and off to the right at a distance, I could hear Canada geese talking back and forth as well. My folks were in town, my sister at work and the contractors were gone so I had the whole farm to myself. It was a very peaceful and solitary (in terms of humans anyway) sort of feeling.
As I stood there, flock after flock of geese began to fly overheard, off to one side or the other and then right overhead as well. Some of these flocks were huge, some were just a small group, and some seemed to be even larger flocks broken into various smaller sizes. At the height of the mealtime migration, their passing was continuous. All together, easily a thousand geese flew over in a space of about 10 minutes.
It was one of those moments that can most definitely be shared, but just has a certain special quality when experienced alone. It is rare to find these moments in our world nowadays. It seems that most people expend a great deal of energy in order to spend as little time alone as possible. I do not think this is a good thing. We need time alone in order to ponder and to reflect. We need this in order to be truly comfortable with ourselves as individuals, and therefore in order to be truly comfortable in our world. Even Superman had a fortress of solitude, after all.
Granted, it is also to go the other way and spend TOO much time alone. I am likely guilty of this at times, being a life-long bachelor and all...and given my tendency to find most people to be selfish and shallow. Still, I think I prefer this than to be uncomfortable with solitude. I don't think I would give up moments like today for anything. It's where I find balance.
3 weeks ago