Though Monte Vista will not have a real, live Crane Festival this year, and has gone “virtual” for the event, the crane themselves are nonplussed. They are here in large numbers now, dancing and purring and calling out and just generally craning as only they can. Lots of crane tourists. I met my first nasty entitled white blond lady (grrrr) and she got under my skin for a moment. She waved her skinny, tanned, gold-braceleted hand out the window of her Lexus SUV and said, “Dogs are not allowed back here.” In fact, they are, leashed, as a big sign at the entry informs everyone (who reads signs). I was all, “grrrr, grrr, grrr,” until the cranes reminded me you don’t hang around for millions of years getting upset with know-it-all, ignorant women who tell you, incorrectly, that “dogs are not allowed here.” At least I had the sense not to respond. And when she passed us again, going the wrong way on that one way road (it’s a oneway loop) I just kept my peace, hoping she didn’t find out the hard way.
The rest of the crane tourists were normal. There were a couple groups of dog owners who gave me the chance to give Bear a learning moment. The people were all very friendly and excited to see the cranes.
One group was really nice people from Pagosa Springs who’d brought champagne for the occasion and were nuts about Bear.
I love crane stories. One of the women told me of an experience she’d had a few years ago, saying, ”And then they ALL flew up at once, and flew over me! When does that happen?”
“Sunset or sunrise, or when a predator is over head, an eagle or something.”
“Yeah, eagles prey on cranes.”
What a lovely afternoon.
Aldo Leopold wrote in his exquisite A Sand County Almanac: “Our appreciation for the crane grows with the slow unraveling of earthly history. His tribe, we now know, stems out of the remote Eocene. The other members of the fauna in which he originated are long since entombed within the hills. When we hear his call, we hear no mere bird. We hear the trumpet in the orchestra of evolution. He is the symbol of our untamable past, of that incredible sweep of millennia which underlies and conditions the daily affairs of birds and men.”
Here’s a phone picture of what I saw today. The crane tourists were VERY lucky to have the birds so close to the road. I’m taking my camera next time.
A couple of links: