"I Said, 'Fly South!'" collage/acrylic, 6 x 6
Elizabeth W. Seaver
As the day and hour of Fall Migratory Take-off approached, General Snortfeathers flew in tighter and tighter circles, anxious about this year's trip.
He bellowed in private to his wife, Clarissa, "This is the most ill-prepared bunch of silly geese I have ever had the misfortune to lead for migration! In all my years of...."
"Yes, Dear, so you've said," Clarissa interrupted. "Why don't you go read your new Tom Clancy novel and relax. There will be little time to do so in the next weeks."
"Don't I know it," he muttered crankily as he threw himself into his recliner.
Finally the last preparations and packings were complete, and the day arrived for the squadrons to take off for warmer climes. Dorcas was there to say goodbye and to ease the jitters of the recent graduates from Dorcas Bird's Fly the Sky Solo School. She waddled back and forth among the V-Groups settling feathers and giving last minute instructions.
"I know it's thrilling to be traveling high above the earth and to go to places you've never seen before, but you do want to GET there, so remember to keep your V-leader in sight at all times," Dorcas admonished an excited group of this season's fledglings.
She worried about Elvin Twig, however. He was, in fact, a lovely young gander, but he had his head in the clouds most of the time. Dorcas had had to draw on her entire bag of tricks in the classroom to teach Elvin to fly. He passed Migratory Navigation by the skin of his beak, which performance secured him the last position in the next-to-last squadron taking off that year.
General Snortfeathers always flew at the head of the final group, taking with him an experienced group of birds who had been trained to handle emergency situations handed on from any of the groups in the sky.
As he and Dorcas and Clarissa honked goodbye to the preceding flock, Snortfeathers noticed Elvin.
"Dorcas, what's with that graceless, knock-kneed fellow who tripped on take-off just now?"
"Well, sir, Elvin is very special. He writes the most beautiful poetry, and you should see his paintings!" Dorcas temporized.
"I just hope I continue to see his tail-feathers," the General harrumphed under his breath.
It was time.
"All right, Group, get into formation.......take off!" he shouted.
In a thundering rush the Snortfeathers Squadron lifted into the air, each bird quickly finding his or her established place, leaving Dorcas watching and waving from the edge of the pond.
Before she had time to turn away, remembering the state of her nest, a lone goose flew right quack into the General's formation.
Very faintly she heard a familiar, martial bellow, "I said, 'Fly SOUTH!'"