One autumn afternoon…

One autumn afternoon I take the clean crockery out of the dishwasher while I am frying sausages and cooking macaroni, and when the dishwasher is empty, I load it with breakfast plates…It’s drizzling, the sky is grey and the air perfectly still. Somewhere above me there is a honk, then another, and I look up. Maybe ten geese are flying by in V-formation. I can hear their wingbeats as they lie on the air with their outstretched necks and undulating movements….

Within me the migrating birds are living a life of their own. I’m not thinking of them, but they are there, in the stream of sensations and feelings which at times freeze into images. Not clear and distinct images, as with photographs, for that isn’t how the external gets depicted within us, but as if in rifts: a few black triangles, a sky, and then that sound, of several pairs of wings beating up in the air. That sound awakens feelings. What kind of feelings? I ask myself now, as I write this. I know them so well, but only as feelings, not as thoughts or concepts. The sound of birds’ wings beating maybe fifteen metres up in the air, heard twice or thrice every autumn for forty years.

Once, in childhood, the world was boundless. Africa, Australia, Asia, America, these were places beyond the horizon, far away from everything, with inexhaustible reservoirs of animals and landscapes. That one could actually travel there was as unthinkable as that one might journey into one of the many books I read at that time. But slowly – for it didn’t come to me as a sudden insight – I began to understand what the migration of birds signified. That they flew all that way under their own power, and that the world wasn’t boundless but limited, and that neither the place they left nor the place they arrived at were abstract but concrete and local.

Yes, that is what I sensed as I wedged the spatula under the slices of sausage and placed them on the green serving dish, then poured the macaroni into a glass bowl. The world is material. We are always in a certain place. Now I am here.

~ Karl Ove Knausgaard, from “The Migration of Birds” in “Autumn



  1. A breathtaking view of these wonderful birds, David and you wrote so well. A great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. it never fails to evoke a certain feeling, almost as if it is something we are born knowing, and recognize when we hear it once again, not really understanding why

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Concrete, local, “here”. A philosophy embraced by those of us who’ve wandered in life, and a lesson for family who we’ve dragged along in the process.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is what day-dreaming is all about…and probably why we both fall into it… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Perfect choice of image to this wonderful text. At the golf club where I work, the geese fly really low. I actually caught a pic with my phone where it looks like a check mark in the sky. So cool.
    I love the contemplative piece – doing the mundane while thinking of what Beth said!

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  6. The exquisite beauty of the quotidian crystallized….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I felt cheated a little over a week ago, when I heard the familiar, overhead call…I did a 360 not being able to locate them, in the overcast sky…

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  8. There is something about the changing of seasons and the birds flying south that touches the wanderlust in all of us. Wanting to fly away with them to someplace warmer, someplace different, far away from the dishes and vacuuming and routine and getting stuck in the snow. How sometimes I wish I was in the middle of that V flying high above…

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  9. Beautiful, how all this came to him from an ordinary moment. Between the dishwasher, sink, and stove! It’s my Zen spot too loool.

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  10. Ahhhhh…..perfection

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A call to all from nature. We are all connected in one way or another. Sometimes just the honking of wild Geese stirs our memory and makes us realize it. Well penned. ☺☺☺

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love to watch the geese now in the fields by my house. I was never more aware of them until now. Thank you for sharing this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Denzil - Life Sentences says:

    I think migration is still one of the great and wonderful mysteries of life on Earth. Thanks for sharing David

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Three weekends, ago…we went on the first apple picking adventure of the season…he was in a hurry to get going and I couldn’t find a camera sd card, so uncharacteristically I found myself adventuring without the camera…we notice a large group of geese (200 or so) on the ground, at the end of the orchard in an open area and under some trees, surprised they weren’t closer to the corn field…we stood for sometime,near them and marveled…occasionally one goose would tootle along mingling among the others…I said to him I wish I had my camera…the next weekend we went picking too, this time camera in tow, the geese were further away and a large number were elsewhere…we were thrilled when some geese flew very low and circled over our heads happened so fast I couldn’t get my camera out as I was marveling at the site…this area has large populations of Canadian geese that overwinter,(good habitat and Good eating for them) though some overwinter further south. in some of the vast, basin area …(we don’t pick up any of the windfall apples as the turkey and deer droppings are prevalent and some of the apples on the ground are covered with nasty yellow jackets and hornets!!)

    Liked by 1 person

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