Last week I bought my first new winter coat in ten years. I have a wide selection of coats that look like winter coats, but they only consist of a single layer of wool and wimpy nylon lining, nothing that would stand up to actual winter temperatures. I happened to stumble on a one-day-only 50% off coat sale at Macy's, and walked out with a big puffy knee-length down sleeping bag of a coat. Once zipped up it creates its own little micro-climate, a fluffy pod of pleasant summer-day warmth. Which is nice when everything above and below the pod is searing with cold before it freezes solid and falls off.
I was wearing it when we walked home from a local bar the other night, the first deeply cold night of the year. The people we were meeting, long-time Boston residents, were startled that we'd walked over; they'd all driven. This made me feel both tough and a little stupid. At the end of the night as we neared Inman Square we heard the overhead honking of migrating geese, clear and close in the darkness. It seemed late for them to be getting out of town, and incongruous that they'd be crossing an urban area, like a flock of chickens clucking past the cafe on the corner.
A few days later I noticed this group of geese nosing around the pond at the Cambridgeside Galleria mall.
Again it seemed odd to see them anywhere but a country meadow. But I guess a pond is a pond, when you're a goose.
Hearing the geese that night got my friend and I thinking about the children's book "The Fledgling," one of a series of fantasy-philosophy tales by the writer Jane Langton. This one was all the rage in my fourth grade class after one of my classmates discovered it; we all dreamed of escaping our misunderstood lives and flying off with a huge Canada goose. Someone evil wanted to kill the goose, too, as I remember it, so it had that bittersweet doomed-animal appeal in the storyline as well.
Not quite a goose but also meriting mention here is this prime example of string art we came across this weekend. A mallard duck, in all its stringy glory.
There isn't anything more I can say about this picture that it doesn't already say so well itself.