I watched a flock of geese soaring overhead in V-formation the other day. Practice runs. It’s too soon for the birds to flutter off to wherever they go in the the winter. Calgary? Hard to say, but bird or human, in a northern city, September is autumn. Early September still looks like summer, but late September, when the cool air has moved in and the branches that aren’t entirely bare hang on to the last few curled leaves, summer seems months ago. And by the first week of October, people look out their windows, in full expectation of the first fat flake.
In Patrick McDonnell’s South, a little bird wakes up from a nap to discover his peeps have moved on without him. It’s autumn, and he is alone. Well, not quite alone. His friend Mooch (the cat, from the cartoon strip Mutts) offers his paw to the weeping bird, and they set off in search of his flock. In a similar situation, I’m not sure my cat Molly would do the same thing, but I like to think she possesses one or two ‘better angels’, buried somewhere deep in those 22 pounds of furry flesh.