Out on the lake, the low plaintive call of Canada geese lingered in the mist, the sound reverberating in the moist air like an echo.
Soon, they would be gone, a gaggle in the skies that would leave him craning his neck upwards with longing.
But for now, they are still here, so he sits and listens, and is stilled at last, the peacefulness of the moment, damping down the melancholy.
Days before, the air had been filled with a harsher sound. The crack and snap of gunshot. The hunters, crouching unseen in the reed beds, eager dogs at their feet waiting for the command to spring and splash. They have had a good year.
Each afternoon he has watched them traipse home, limp geese thumping against their legs.
He has tried to count them, but can’t grapple with the sheer number. Each time he took a tally for the day, it felt like counting down to something; like crossing off the days on a calendar, and knowing why it is, that the fading sound in the air always makes you look up.