Stories Untold

snow geese in a field

It’s a guess where the snow geese will be when we run an errand or return home. When we meet someone new, we often hear about where their parents came from, and where their parent’s parents came from, and back into history. I was heart broken when I learned that a great great grandfather of mine up and left his beautiful farm in Switzerland. I visited that farm once and could not imagine how anyone in their right mind could abandon such a place.

That great great grandfather was not right of mind. His reason for fleeing paradise? A tavern opened about a mile from his farm. He was not about to raise children with drinking and dancing so close to home. If I had a great great grandfather who loved beer and dancing, I could be farming in the Jura mountains and trekking into Bern, Switzerland, from time to time.

But what about the snow geese? Is that what they talk about? “My mother and father met when their flocks crossed paths over Vancouver Island?” or whatever name snow geese have for Vancouver Island.

Probably not. But you never know. We may belittle them for their little brains, but those little brains maneuver their bodies more skillfully than jet liners, and steer them on epic journeys from the Arctic to here and back, all without the need for massive infrastructure and support staff.

nest in barberry

While trimming a barberry bush, I discovered a nest up in the upper branches. A barberry bush with its needle thorns is a safe place for a little bird to nest. No cat or snake would attempt to climb a barberry. Its thorns make a rose thorn feel as soft as a feather. I think you could accomplish delicate brain surgery with barberry thorns.

Trim a barberry, and it glares back at you, neon yellow. “Step any closer and you die!” the barberry screams.

nest from above

So what little bird raised a brood in this little nest? What little bird flew south and is now telling a potential mate, “I grew up in a thorny barberry bush. Where did you grow up?”

cut barberry branch
late December dawn

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