Determination is a quality I usually ascribe to crocuses. There is no greater example of it at winter’s end than their delicate, willful heads breaking through the snow’s crusty surface.
In May, determination belongs to the Canada geese, flying under cover of darkness back to their northern home above the now-closed border. I hear them through my open bedroom window at 2:37 each morning.
I once imagined that their constant calling among flying V companions was a matter of quelling insecurities, “Are you there?” “Are you still there?” But I recently learned that their constant calling is a form of echolocation. Like bats and beluga whales, they listen to their voices reflected back to them from their journey.
They fly at night because there are fewer predators then, because the air is cooler and less turbulent. They fly at night, because like me, they are determined to get back to Canada.
Though I am not from Canada as they obviously are, I want to get back there to drink wine and dance to EDM, to sip a cappuccino in a white ceramic bowl and eat a buttery, flaky croissant, to flirt with the transvestite pole dancer in her tall boots, miniskirt, and full-length fur coat dancing with the stop sign outside of the grocery store on Rue Saint-Catherine.
Though I am not from Canada as she obviously is, I want to get back there to dance – not with a pole but with my heart – to prove that I made it. For all my weakness and doubt, getting back to Montréal will prove that my stubborn determination prevailed, that the US is possibly not as horrible as the rest of the world thinks it is.
I am determined that we’re not as horrible as the anti-vaxxers willfully cutting off the vaccine firehose aimed at the out-of-control wildfire virus that continues raging with viral determination threatening to engulf us all.
Like the Canada goose flying at the front of the V-formation, I am determined to keep moving forward through the air turbulence of the would-be freedom seekers.
At 2:37 each morning the geese call through my open bedroom window to remind me that I am because they are. No sweet whisper in the night, their determined caterwauling sparks my own determined caterwauling sparks. I toss on my pillow reaffirming that nebulous concept of common humanity, oneness: humanity, geese, you and me.
I keep testing it, though, like bats and beluga whales and the geese. I listen to my voice reflected back to me from the path ahead. “Are you there?” “Are you still there?”