Trina Machacek: Geese, cows and hummingbirds

As a day goes by and all events are snuggly put in an envelope, every once in a while something comes up that needs to be evaluated.

Not every day mind you. Maybe not even once a week. But sometime along the path of life something will need to be discussed with that little voice we have in our heads.

Oh you may not realize that your little voice is talking at the time, but rest assured it’s there. Whispering little voices come and go usually making good sense. It’s the times where the little voice is yelling at you so loud that you know you will miss something cool if you don’t listen to it.

That happened to me just last week. While I was driving. No, my voice, who I sometimes call Clyde, wasn’t telling me to slow down. I don’t always drive too fast. Note that I said I don’t “always” drive too fast. I added that so that those who know me will not be laughing too loudly. Nope this time the voice was saying, look to your left. LOOK to your left. LOOK-TO-YOUR-LEFT!

I was in a ranching area passing a place that has wonderful green fields and pastures and has some free water collected in ditches and a small pond from creeks and springs. The colors of the grasses and tullies and cat tails are just changing from dark green to lighter green and some tinges of browns, yellows and reds. Very Norman Rockwell or Ansel Adams if you were to see it in black and white and gray.

I like to drive when it’s warm enough with the window down so the smells of the earth are slammed into my nose so hard they will be easily called up and remembered in the middle of February when I have been stuck in the house for so long I may have forgotten what outside is all about. That’s just where I was when not only did my voice tell me to look to my left but I think somehow the air from the window pushed my head in that direction.

To my great surprise, a huge flock of geese were just above the water of the fields I was passing. Not high in the air like you usually see them. Just car window height. Not all formed in a “V”, these were just getting started. Or maybe they were circling to land.

So I stopped and just watched and listened. There were more than a gaggle but less than a thousand. There were gliders and flappers. There were big ones and little ones. And they were talking goose talk.

These geese have it made. They all seem to get along. They all seem to have a purpose and a mission. Some were circling to the left and some to the right. Never hitting each other. The cool thing was that they would circle up and then glide back down. The smaller ones seemed to be learning the ropes of the flock.

I still don’t know if they were just coming in or just going out because as a human I was of course on a timed schedule and I stayed for as long as I could before heading on down the road. But I watched in my rearview mirror until turning on a curve when the geese got left behind. But! Yes a goosey “but.” But of course being me I let my head enjoy the following trail from goose to cow to humming birds! Oh you’ll see the connection.

The littler geese were the most interesting. They grew so fast from little puff balls of spring to these amazing flying instruments. The parent geese took grand care of each one. Like cows. Have you ever gone past new calves in a field in early spring? About mid-morning somehow the mommas herd them to a certain spot where other calves are placed where one or two cows watch over them while the rest of the moms go off to eat. I call that the calf nursery and I see it every year. It’s amazing. How is that accomplished? Is there a meeting the night before when nursemaid cows are decided upon? Are nursemaid cows the same every day? Every year?

Then I noted that cows are sometimes landing strips for black birds. How annoying would it be to have a bird land on your back and just sit there? Like the hummingbirds that hitch rides, first class on the down layered soft backs of geese heading south each year. And that’s how I got from geese to hummingbirds.

Trina lives in Eureka. Her book, They Call Me Weener is available on or e-mail her at


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