Geese, collectives and giving adda

So, I’m sure that by now you’ve seen the fantastic viral video called “Murmuration”, yes? If not – here it is.

A person can’t forget that kind of experience, and we’ve all been swept away at one time or another forces of nature. But witnessing a collective effort like that – like giant schools of menhaden swirling or whales jumping in unison with an energy that feels like joy – these are among the greatest moments in life.

I’ve been so taken with the canadian geese lately – in the last week, their numbers are increasing daily. Temperatures up north must be dropping, because the geese are all arriving in noisy Vs daily now.

What I like best is their chatter. I hear them at night – they’re loud and continual. Even though the 1890 schoolhouse we live in has been updated with insulation and foam, the 8 foot windows with old wavy glass conduct sound like water does. The schoolhouse buzzes with the clamor of the geese. Sometimes, as I ‘m drifting in and out of sleep, they sound like music.

<Geese watercolor credit Kevin Garber>

The people who have been summering for generations in the camp on Fishing Creek, where our cabin lies, once created a club around “giving adda”. Named after the phenomena of thousands, millions of roosting crows, who all squalk together, the whole point is being together. Not necessarily listening, but gathering, hearing, being as one collective. Someone would bring a large plastic crow out of one cottage at happy hour, and it would rule the table over the course of the evening. Sitting under the crow gave a sense of connection with the larger universe, a feeling of participation in this larger realm of life. Always “giving” adda, not taking, not dominating, just being in touch with one another.

William Wilhelm stopped me in Acme yesterday with words about water – and thoughts about the quote the other day from the Rabbi in Baltimore – when she reminded us that not a new drop of water will ever exist in our world. His point was – “we ARE water, we’re 90% water. We’re as recycled as anything else.” As old as the trees and the mountains, continually shape shifting, from one part of the earth to another. Indeed.

Last evening, Renny held an impromptu supper with neighbors in Mayberry. I stood outside between his house and studio and listened at one point – when some 15 neighbors gathered, chatting, laughing. I squinted my eyes and ears and shot forward in my mind to the geese at night on the cove. Same sounds.

Why wouldn’t they be visiting with one another exactly as we do, when gathered at a party? Of course they’re talking among themselves.

I wonder what they’re saying.

I’ll bet it’s the same stuff we’re talking about. I love that we’re all part of this human collective, not so different from our avian neighbors. Variations on the same, water-based theme of life. No more important, no less.


~ by kbosin on December 23, 2011.

3 Responses to “Geese, collectives and giving adda”

  1. The weather has been warmer than usual but it does look like you are getting a lot of the geese. Happy Holidays for you and your family.

  2. Umm, not to pick, but they’re actually called “Canada Geese”.

  3. you have a great blog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my blog?

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