I love it when something happens that triggers recall of a distinct, deep-seated memory. Yesterday while walking aimlessly in the forest a faint, familiarly pleasant sound drifted down from someplace high overhead. Craning to try to spot the source of the sound, tall pines blocked my view. Walking on while keep an eye peeled on patches of clear blue sky between treetops, they finally came into line of sight and I was transported back to a crisp autumn day when I was six years old, outside playing idly in the yard, watching geese migrating south.
Then the trees were elms just beginning to shed their leaves. Getting up and walking from beneath the elms, I spotted the geese and kept them in sight as they honked and skwonked in graceful flight. Their wings flashed silvery bright with reflected sunlight when they flapped between long glides. Their vocalizations sounded silvery bright too. Tracking their progress, I imagined what they might be saying to each other in their in-flight goose conversation.
"Hey look down there! See that kid looking up at us?"
"The river here has a little water in it this year, wanna land and get a drink?"
"No! We need to keep flying south before it gets too cold!"
"Yeah, besides that river is too salty."
"There's a big lake a few minutes away in those mountains ahead, let's stop there to drink."
"That kid down there is waving at us now."
Almost six decades on, thrill of the childhood memory raced through me, and I waved again.