Today is my brother’s birthday. He would have been 67. For a couple of months every year he was only one year younger than I, a math puzzle it took me a while to figure out. In the picture he’s 43 and I’m 45. Were in Oregon, Yachats, at a Kennedy family reunion. Our matching shirts are from Mission Trails Regional Park, the design is mine. It’s a red tail hawk flying over a map of the park. It was a great family party on the beach. My aunt reserved an entire motel facing the ocean.
November 2 is also “Dia de los Muertos” or Day of the Dead in Mexican culture, and since I’ve lived surrounded by that culture most of my life, I never forget that. It actually kind of sucks.
I decided to “celebrate” with a trip out to the Refuge with my sweet friend, Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog, while the cranes are here in full force. I don’t want to miss them. As soon as I turned on Bella, Mohammed’s Radio started to play, “We May Never Pass this Way Again” — yep. Kind of melancholy, considering whose birthday it is, but then Sirius did the whole magical radio thing and played the Medley from Abbey Road, the Beatles’ song I think of as my brother’s song. There are a lot of reasons for that, not very interesting generally, but…
I was so happy to be going out to my and Bear’s happy place and wondered, again and always, why my brother gave his life to alcohol when life is really incredibly wondrous and beautiful and amazing. Why didn’t he want it? I’ll never know and it’s a useless question. The song ended, I turned into the parking space, two guys who work there waved and smiled. They are used to me and my dogs.
And the cranes. I love watching them, listening to them, and learning about them by observing them. One thing I’ve observed is they never fly directly over me. I admire them for that. I could be a hunter. After 350 million years of surviving, they probably have that figured out but then..
…when I was barely paying attention, about a dozen flew directly over head in a V. I’m sure it was a mistake or they weren’t paying attention, but maybe they HAVE figured out that I’m just a harmless little lady standing there in wonderment. I suspect they’re quite intelligent.
Sometimes when many take flight suddenly after making a lot of racket, I can see the reason. Often it’s a raptor. I saw that today, a red-tail hawk circling a small group about 1/4 mile from me. One thing my hiking life has taught me is how to see things at a distance. It’s an art, I think. I always feel like a character in a James Fenimore Cooper novel when I spy an animal running a mile away — and I have. Last winter I saw an elk doe running hell bent for leather AWAY from something that I could’t see. I suspect a dog of some kind.
At our turnaround point, I sat down on a rock to watch the ducks on a canal and listen to the silence. It was finally so quiet that I even heard the cranes’ wings as they flew ALMOST over me. The ducks in the canal sounded like the were laughing, and there was much diving and quacking.
I could have stayed there all day.