Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sandhill Cranes and a Still Day

I looked at my feet, lost in thought. He made me this path so I can walk and remain close to the house.  When the weather is agreeable, I walk.  Some of my best ideas come to me when I walk.

 He asked me once, why I never seem to look up.  Why do I not notice things around me when I walk?  Years of living in a city where I was one of eight white people may have something to do with it.  My life was under constant scrutiny.  In the grocery store, they would sometimes look at what I was buying in my cart.  On the street they'd talk about me as I walked by.  "Foreigner," a man would say loudly.  A child's voice would echo the same.  Blue eyes and brown hair don't exactly allow one blend in an Asian country.  At 5 foot 8 inches, I was taller than most of the women and some of the men. I'd look at my feet because I wanted to avoid those stares.  The ones where eyes seemed to burn through your being, reminding you that 'you are not like us.'  I still walk with my eyes shifted downward.  

The noise, that noise startles me.  It sounds like a pack of coyotes and I run to the house anxious to find my husband.  "Come," I say, motioning with my hands.   He comes outside, and we look up into a sky of blue.  "What is that noise?"  I ask, and then state, "It sounds like a bunch of mechanical coyotes."  He looks up, and says, "No, it's a flock of birds migrating."  We stand for minutes on end watching the birds.  "Look, they aren't flapping their wings, they are gliding."  We watch them form a 'v' pattern and glide.  He figures it out as we watch birds clump together again when they seem to abandon the 'v' pattern.  "They are catching a thermal and riding it up, and then gliding," he says. We watch them circle and regroup.  Then, we come in the house and he reads.  "We've just seen a flock of sandhill cranes on their way to Nebraska," he says, and then continues, "they will fly all the way to Canada, Alaska and Russia." 

"I've never seen such a large flock of migrating birds," I say.  The still day caused their chirps to carry, and the sound disturbed my walk-with-my-head-looking-down.  It was one of those crazy beautiful timeless moments I'm not sure I'll every have the privilege of observing again.  Beautiful cranes, amazing creation, a bird that instinctively knows how to glide about 200 miles a day. 

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