Ann Keiffer

Ah, the Romance of Nature

For a long time I longed
for something
I could not quite name.
But I know now what
I was longing for:
a change of place, of pace,
life lived closer to nature
in less-manicured environs,
with creatures, tall grass,
gnarled trees, mountains
and sky, and a chance
to see sun, moon and fog
rising over a mountain range.
I know this is what I wanted,
because it is life a little wilder
and closer to nature I am
so ecstatic to be living now.
Not a fanged-clawed-
flood-and-blizzard wild,
but a lot more wild
than where I’ve been.

Then one recent afternoon
something smacked into our roof
with a house-shaking THUD
and a slappety-clappety-clatter.

I bolted from my chair,
out the sliding door,
and onto the deck,
and craned my neck.
What in the wild world
was happening up there?

As if to answer, a grey goose
poked his head and
thick, bony neck
above the edge of our
flat roof and said,
I clapped my hands together
in surprise, delighted,
and was laughing out loud,
when all of a sudden
another goose, also from on high, said,

Two geese seemed to have
crash-landed on the roof
at the same time.
Had they mistaken
our flat roof for a rectangle
of dark water, a pool?
Were they young geese trying to
earn their wings in flight training,
not quite having the hang of it yet?
Did the rookies know how to get down?

I went back inside, wondering
if I should call someone, perhaps
Security, or Pest Control, or the
People in Charge of Geese.
The geese honked and honked.
And then came a sound like
ten men in swim fins running
across the roof and our
roof-squatters took off
to join up with a whole V
of geese doing a fly-over.

But soon there was another
crash-landing, then another, and
another, each eventually punctuated
by the ten-men-in-swim-fins departure.
I was grinning, enjoying the ruckus,
but at the same time still wondering
if there was something I should
be doing about it. A neighbor
warned, “Better hope they’re
not building a nest up there.
They make an awful racket
and poop all over everything.”

I somewhat reluctantly got
on the phone. I probably should
call the management association,
I thought, make a report
on those geese,
ask whether something
should be done about
geese on the roof,
or geese crash-landing
on the roof,
or geese building big,
untidy nests and
indiscriminately pooping.

The lady on the phone
in a bored voice informed me that,
no, they were not responsible
for geese on the roof.
“Besides, what would we do?” she said.
“It’s just nature.”

Oh! Yeah. It’s just nature.
Nature–untidy, messy, wild, wonderful,
surprising, inspiring and pooping thing!
You are the reason I love this place.
I sat back, grinning,
and took my delight
in every THUD
and slappety-clappety-clatter.


Photo credit:
law_keven Creative Commons License




About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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