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 Bill Bernbeck
  Bio  Artist Statement  Journal Gallery 

Walkabout Journal

With the Moon on Their Wing

It’s Spring, and the Canada geese are already moving toward summer quarters. They convene in the bay to feed on the aquatic plant life. They honk incessantly as they drift along, staying in the shallow water just offshore. Their vigilance is constant; moving their heads and necks to ensure there is no danger. All the while, their calls ring out in a ramshackle dissonance.  Every one of them has something to say. Every one of them has to say it with the loudest possible nasal honks they can muster.

The scene will repeat at day’s end. Again, their chorus will erupt and continue into the fading light. In that last twilight, they will flutter and awkwardly scramble before emerging into graceful flight. Their sounds echo far into the darkened sky.

I witnessed this ceremony each day, watching them form their V-squadrons as they cleared the water. The flight formation would inevitably veer toward the trees, flirting with the topmost branches in token clearance. Sometimes a silent moon would be out to set the backdrop for the spectacle.

Their calls have haunted the spirit of man for millennia. As cacophonous as they are, they also stir a deep-seated wanderlust. We watch them gracefully fly away together, their song finding the rhythm of their wing beats. They will see the world in a way we cannot, always flying effortlessly to the next horizon. They have a freedom of which we can only dream.

Moon on their Wings by Bill Bernbeck

I combined two separate images to create this final impression. I seldom manipulate a picture to that extent, but  I was inspired to convey the spirit of their flight. The image prompted me to attempt free verse prose to capture that spirit. 

With the Moon on Their Wing

They brim the lakeshore
Noisy and raucous and splashing away,
Seeking each other in constant voice.
Each note a question:
“Are you there?”

 They alight with no signal.
A rush of wings and water
That drips away quickly once borne
Upon the soft current of air beneath.
“Are you with me?”

 To rise above all and glide along
Singing their song in chorus.
Now as night birds they go,
As the moon glances softly.
“Yes…I am with you.” 

Bill Bernbeck
April 2010

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All images and writings Copyright Bill Bernbeck


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