Although I doubt I’ll ever take living here in Heaven for granted, Crane Festival time is a reminder of how lucky I am to live in this obscure little town with the amazing world around it. For other people it’s a major destination where they can finally see the Sandhill Cranes even on a day like today which was blustery, snowy, and not everyone’s idea of a perfect day. It was a perfect day for this man and his wife.
I think sometimes the cranes could restore humanity’s sense of wonder and teach us the good sense the cranes have demonstrated for 2.5 million years.
Out there today with Bear I observed the cranes lifting off in masses, taking off, going over here, then back over there again and again. I looked hard for predators, but with the clouds low and moving, it was hard to see, plus the cranes themselves were moving a lot. Finally, toward the end of our walk, I saw an eagle, high in the sky. For safety the cranes ALL MOVE together making any individual crane (ie. meal) an impossible target. They don’t argue about it, either. They just go to safety. I thought about how people have actually argued about wearing masks and whether the virus is real. No crane would do that. Even a crane in doubt of a predator would stick with the others because there’s safety in numbers and what if?
As Bear and I were walking along, an old guy in a pick-up stopped to say hi and offer Bear a cookie. He was wearing a hat with a whooping crane embroidered on it and a shirt with Sandhill cranes silk-screened. I joked and said, “You really didn’t even need to come all the way out here. You could’ve just looked at your clothes!”
Later on, he pulled off the road to watch the cranes. Not far away from that pull out, I saw a Canada geese couple I “met” last year. They seemed to be about to nest in the same not-very-smart location where they nested last year. I know it wasn’t smart because I saw one of their eggs broken on the road and they left the Refuge long before the other geese — who’d nested in safer locations and hatched young. I wanted to talk to them about this, but I think they know more about being geese than I do.
Bear and I stood a long time and watched the cranes in the distance and the geese closer up. Bear leaned against me and I wrapped my arm around her shoulder. We like to do that.
it was the most beautiful day I’ve had out there in a while.