Columbus, Ohio USA
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A Magic Month
By Tom Thomson
November 2011 Issue

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November is a magician. In its great disappearing act, every vestige of summer vanishes. Hard on the heels of milder October offerings come storms, pewter skies and driving rains. Cold clear nights witness the ascension of Orion the hunter. Lake shores turn to tinkling ice, morning dew to frost, drizzle to the sorcery of snow.

Prominent among these curiosities is the sudden appearance of wild waterfowl heading south. A distant rustle – like the faraway barking of dogs – grows to an excited gabbling, changes to a clamor. They are geese. A vee of them flies over, wing to wing, in relentless passage.

The flight of wild ducks also is wondrous to watch. From marshy hiding places, where legions of cattails nod, wigeon, teal and slender pintail leap aloft, wings splashing, pinions straining, as they climb high above the humble earth.

Swift flying canvasbacks, scaup and goldeneyes bunch together, wings flashing in unison. They race the wind, neatly tacking, coming about, before stringing themselves across the sky like skeins of thread.

Whistling swans follow the primeval urge that takes them from arctic latitudes to the bays and estuaries of our southeast coast. They fly strong, with long necks outstretched, engraved in startling white against the pastel colors of lowering skies.

On choppy, white-capped waters, loons ride the waves, fantasizing about silvery fish darting in the depths below. Then they dive in pursuit of their dreams.

Gulls flutter over the water, their hue and cry smacking of the sea, ports-of-call, the nature of change and matters beyond our full understanding.

Columbus Citizen-Journal, November 23, 1982

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