The Cackling Geese: Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

Marianne Bickett | September 14, 2021 | Leave a Comment

First Autumn, 2020

We hear them before we see them
rising from the mist of dawn
from the tall and weathered straw-colored grasses
of the wetlands.

Their wings beat against their breasts
as they cackle in cacophonic exultations,
forming arrows pointing to an unseen destination
across the autumn sky.

Upon their return year after year,
they grace us with a reminder
of what it is to be alive and in sync with
the rhythm of life.

They offer their joyous voices against
the bitter wind and rain
in complete embracing of the struggle.

When we stop our busy doing things
to listen to the geese,
we might begin to hear their messages.
That we belong. And that they belong here, too.

The refuge waits for their return,
a winter home from artic lands thousands of miles away.
With wings opening into sails,
they surrender to gravity with grace and triumphant splashes.

As the giant birds slide smoothly across the seasonal pond, 
their cackling voices simmer into silence.

Yonder down the path we are happy to see
other humans bearing witness to this intelligence,
and the joy one feels deep in the bones.
The sweet songs of birds fly into the calm morning air from all around us,
as we walk by the amazed expressions of children discovering
a peace too rare in our midst.

©2021 Marianne Bickett

Marianne Bickett
Cackling Geese, Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, Spring 2021
©2021 Marianne Bickett

Author and Artist Marianne Rose Bickett is a retired teacher, who expresses her love of nature through writing, and art. With a Master’s degree in Art Education, University of Illinois, 1986, Marianne has utilized her expertise as well as enjoyed being a life-long learner. 

Fiction: the Art á la Cart trilogy: Leonardo and the Magic Art Cart; Art Rocks with Ms. Fitt, and The Present, Kala’s Song for Young Adult through Adult.

Non-fiction: Art á la Cart, Memoir of a Teacher, A Special Creek, Enrichment, and Magic.

Marianne taught everything from special education to art, from preschool through college, for nearly forty years. Teaching in mostly public schools, as well as an art museum, Marianne’s vast experiences across the country have given her a rich history from which to draw upon for inspiration in her books. 

Throughout her career, Marianne was devoted to the environment and creating opportunities for her students to draw inspiration from their inner and outer worlds. For example, greatly inspired by the works of Andy Goldsworthy, she embarked upon utilizing a creek adoption to engage her curious charges in ephemeral creations. Across the curriculum projects that involved math, science, music, literature, and art, as well a multi-sensory approach, were the mainstay of Marianne’s approach to teaching. 

Married to composer Brian Belét, Marianne cherishes her family that includes her son, Jacques, his wife Irish, and two young grandchildren. Marianne continues to share her joy of life on Instagram, newsletters, and occasional workshops and classes. Her many interests include meditation, yoga, long walks, and advocating for the environment and for animal welfare. Marianne enjoys time with her sister, Jane, on her Begin Again Ranch, caring for all creatures great and small.

Photo: Marianne Bickett photographed in Tualatin River National Wildlife Reserve, Oregon, by Earthdarling Portraits of Sherwood, Oregon.

Marianne’s website.

This article is part of the MAHB Arts Community‘s “More About the Arts and the Anthropocene”. If you are an artist interested in sharing your thoughts and artwork, as it relates to the topic, please send a message to Michele Guieu, Eco-Artist and MAHB Arts Community coordinator:
Thank you. ~

The views and opinions expressed through the MAHB Website are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect an official position of the MAHB. The MAHB aims to share a range of perspectives and welcomes the discussions that they prompt.