The change in the season is really in full swing.  The air today was a welcome cool crisp sunny day.  This is the season for walks through piles of leaves and the dusting off of wooly hats.  The lovely Sharon and I (and the little man) were all relaxing in the garden today.  We were sipping strong coffee and letting the October sun warm our faces (the little man had no coffee) when our ears perked up at the sound of the Gabriel Hounds.  We jumped up to try and find them in the sky, to catch a glimpse and watch and say hello.  We caught sight of them and plotted their course in our minds eye.  A skein of Brent geese making their way down to Strangford for the winter.

brent geese by mikebaird

It is said that in many years gone by, in Ireland,   people used to believe that the cries between flocks of geese were actually made by ghostly hounds called Gabriel Hounds with human heads who flew high in the air.

On a slightly related topic; I am reading Bernd Heinrich’s latest book.  I love his writing and looked forward to getting it for a while now.  In it he mentions his pet geese having a strange compulsion near motorised agricultural vehicles.  They would follow the vehicle as much as they could.  The louder the engine the greater their compulsion.  One of them used to walk with him between himself and the lawn mower as he cut the lawn.  He suspected the noise had a link to the noise of a flock migrating and some of them could simply not resist following.

We too feel the urge to follow.  To follow with the flow of the seasons, to follow this pulse.  We feel the need prepare to gather together, to stock up wood for the embers that will hold back the winter cold.

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