Under the last full moon we visited Crane country along the river lands south of Albuquerque. The cell phone I use for pictures serves me well most of the time, but for this post I am adding a few photos with better resolution from SBI’s partner Sansai Studio. The large birds in these photos are mostly either Sandhill Cranes or Snow Geese.
It shifts your orientation to the world when you see the pattern of bird migrations. Rivers such as the Río Grande are important flyways. Past Belen any semblance of towns vanishes and the river forest, fields and pastures, mesas, mountains and dome of sky come to the forefront.
The Cranes jostled and called in the corn fields. When they took off and flew overhead we could hear the whoosh from the air compressing under their beating wings. Their feathers like fingers articulating their glide. Flying in formation one bird may pause for a stroke and it sinks noticeably several inches before being buoyed in the invisible slipstream of the leading Cranes. Efficient midflight rest. Flocks were flying overhead at all depths shaping out the sky, their movements directed by an intelligence we may not know but are able to recognize.
I get a sense of appreciation from our pilgrimages to this great bird habitat. Gratitude for the irreducible living earth. Without it there is no us. Sharing the world, looking around at the couples, families, and kids playing in this atmosphere is heartening. A place for all life’s variety.
It is a life changing experience observing so many Cranes. The true reality of the world shows. Squadrons of life flying soundlessly higher than the tallest building guided by keen bird insight.
When it began to get dark the birds suddenly rose from the fields where they were feeding, all as one. Waves of energy taken to the air, pulsating wings lifting them off into the night. They roost in the river and ponds in their secret places. I wonder how it feels to be a Crane.
Being outside brings on surprises. The play of light on land and water. The healing power of nature. The fabric of life and all the unexpected wonders that make the world whole and alive.