Line the Cherry Valley ridge
Or splayed-fingered settlers
Frozen at the first war-whoop.*
I'm just back from a quick trip to central New York to celebrate my Dad's 88th birthday (he's doing great.) While there, I went for a ride with him in our newly-restored 1952 Willys jeep, he and I played a few games of ping-pong (he's as impossible to beat as ever) and later went with my father and his girlfriend to a show at the Arts Council in Norwich, NY: "A Blue Suede Christmas" by Scot Bruce, a well-known Elvis impersonator who plays a lot at Disneyland. He was so much like Elvis it was quite disconcerting!
Natural music was of a different kind. There were thousands of Canada geese in the area, and on Saturday morning when I got up, there were huge flocks wheeling overhead, calling to each other in a wave of sound that was almost deafening. On the way home, we passed a field that was white with snow geese, with thousands more circling up from the field in a continual pattern that reminded me of an insect swarm, or the living balls made by small fish as they try to evade predators. It was the sort of sight we had hoped to see when we visited the snow goose migratory staging grounds at Cap Tourmente in Quebec, but that day we only saw a handful of them.
Central New York has always been fairly wild country, home to large herds of deer and other smaller animals, and a stopping point on the flyway for many migratory birds; it's one of the things I always liked about living there. Now it seems to be even more this way. We saw large flocks of turkeys as well as deer, and my cousin told me that she regularly sees and hears coyote. Dad saw a black bear last year, but bear and moose are only occasional visitors south of the Thruway and Adirondack Park, so far as I know. I'm curious about sightings of bobcat, fishers, and lynx - do any of my readers have any information on those species in that area?
*I can never drive past Cherry Valley without remembering the Cherry Valley massacre, which took place on November 11, 1778 -- a group of British and Loyalist soldiers, Seneca and Mohawk Indians attacked a fort and the village of Cherry Valley, and massacred 30 people, mostly women and children. It was one of the most horrific massacres of the entire Revolutionary War, and to some respect still haunts that part of central New York State.