A band of geese went north today. They were high up, a little black V in the sky, but we could hear their honking. George Pudbury stopped his plowing and looked up, following the flight of the geese until they disappeared over the hill. The woman next door gazed over her clothesline, a wet shirt in her hand, and watched the flight. Old Jim Barlow, bent double with rheumatism, craned his neck to see. The children playing in the sand pile stopped for a moment and pointed.
All over Canada the geese were going north. In the natural channel of the prairies, between lake and mountain, you can hear their thousands at dusk, honking high, and then the intimate whisper of wings as they come down to land.
In the autumn they will come again and at evening drop down to rest in the stubble fields. From the distance you can see them feeding on the scattered grains of wheat, or you may find a solemn pair swimming in a puddle, but you will never get close to them. They are wild and will never come close to man, whom they do not trust. Nothing can tame them, nothing deflect them from their course.
Every spring they head northward, and south each autumn, the Canada Goose, noblest of birds. Everywhere, but especially on the lonely prairies, men look up and watch them, and never tire of the sight. In the flight of the geese they see the thing that everywhere is withheld from man. Without compass, without knowledge of geography or power of reason, the geese move certainly, over the thousands of miles to their habitation. No doubt here, no fear, no bewilderment. And men, doubtful always, afraid always, and in their civilization completely be-