The Comfort Of Cranes

Do you have a ritual you perform, either when you are elated and ecstatic, or when you feel down and depressed? Are there natural refuges you seek when you need to reset your compass?

Ever since feathered beings have captured my heart and imagination, and ever since first witnessing the twice-annual migration of Sandhill cranes through Colorado’s San Luis Valley, spending time in the company of these awe-inspiring birds has been imbued with profound meaning for me. Their gangly beauty, soul-stirring vocalizations, and social interactions are evocative of a different and perhaps better world and suffuse their existence with a spellbinding mystique. The cranes’ documented existence on Planet Earth for 2.5 millions of years makes them keepers of age-old knowledge and wisdom, and their continued presence, as well as their cyclical wanderings, are reassuring reminders of some residual reliable and predictable pattern in an otherwise unraveling world.

When plans for a book I had written underwent their own unraveling in March of this year, I sought refuge from and reassurance for my profound disappointment in the company of cranes. Even though they could not change the fact that my manuscript had been rejected by a publisher at what seemed like the eleventh hour, the cranes worked their magic. The mere fact that tens of thousands had made it to Monte Vista and Alamosa from more southern climes at the end of winter, and would go on to their breeding grounds farther north, helped put my own grievances in perspective. Watching the birds rest, feed, preen, dance, and take to the air was comforting balm for my bruised ego. They reminded me that despite challenges and obstacles, despite unexpected storms that obscure the sky, the clouds will eventually part and a path forward will open. With a restored sense of proportion and profound gratitude I departed, having made up my mind about how to proceed.

To enlarge a photo, click on it. 

For previous posts about my visits to the cranes of the San Luis Valley, click on the following links:

Monte Vista

Birds of Ages

Blessed Birds

62 thoughts on “The Comfort Of Cranes

  1. Yes, the journeys the cranes make every year can be seen as a metaphor: life’s not easy, but struggling to overcome the challenges we face make us who we are. I hope you are soon able to find a publisher for your book. Meanwhile, keep enjoying those cranes…wonderful birds!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always enjoy reading your posts. In this story, I was sad to learn about the disappointing result regarding your book. Isn’t it interesting where humans find strength and resolve? Somehow, watching cranes has given you fresh prespective and renewed energy to push on. Don’t give up! You are a very talented writer. You can prevail!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Schade, dass deine Hoffnungen enttäuscht wurden, Tanja.
    Das ganze Leben ist ein Auf und Ab und das Beobachten von Vögeln, ganz besonders auch von Kranichen, kann Wunder wirken.
    Sehr schöne Aufnahmen sind das!
    Liebe Grüße Brigitte

    Liked by 2 people

  4. We have seen one or two sandhill cranes but never a flock such as these. They are wonderful.
    If you have not already visited the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin, you should try to do so.
    We stumbled upon in when we went there to visit the Circus Museum.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They truly ARE wonderful and I always feel so lucky when I get to see them. Thank you for the suggestion to visit the International Crane Foundation. I have heard about them, but have never had the chance to explore it. A trip to the Midwest and its many birds is definitely on my wish list. One of these days, I hope.
      Kind regards,


  5. I’m sorry your book project fell through at the last minute in March. For at least the last decade, the climate hasn’t been good for authors seeking to get taken up by established publishers.

    The kind of crane used in building construction is named for the bird, as is the expression “crane one’s neck.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Liebe Tanja,
    mir hilft es mir auch, mich kontemplativ großen oder kleinen Naturerscheinungen zuzuwenden, wenn ich eine Enttäuschung erlebt habe. Irgendwie hebt mich dies dann aus dem kleinen betrüblichen Selbstbezug in einen größeren Zusammenhang, der mich tröstet und auch wieder Raum für neue Hoffnungskeime öffnet oder mich zumindest wieder einen gewissen inneren Frieden empfinden läßt.
    Es interessiert mich, was für eine Art Buch hast Du geschrieben hast?
    Gruß & buchstäbliche Umarmung
    von Ulrike

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Es ist gut seine Ressourcen von Kraft und Freude zu kennen! Diese Bilder sind schon wunderschön und wie muss das erst real gewesen sein!
    Kopf hoch! Manchmal dreht sich das Blatt schneller als man denkt und mit einem besseren Ergebnis! Das wünsche ich Dir!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Herzlichen Dank für die guten Wünsche, liebe Simone. Nächste Woche werde ich etwas mehr über das Buchprojekt berichten.
      Ich fühle mich immer total privilegiert und dankbar, wenn ich ich Zeit mit den Kranichen verbringen kann.
      Sei herzlich gegrüßt,

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have never seen a sandhill crane before, but your description of viewing them sounds quite similar to my lifelong experiences with Canada geese. I grew up across from a neighbor’s hay field that sloped up to the mountains (You should imagine little hills, though! LOL) Anyway, every time the wild geese came over the field in the fall, we would dash out of the house to watch them. Such a beautiful sight, and such a haunting cry. Fifty something years later, I still dash out of the house when I hear them!
    So sorry about your book disappointment. But I have no doubt that in the long run, it will work out for you, perhaps even something better than your first offer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad about your lifelong fascination with the migration of Canada geese, Julie. It’s such a wonderful phenomenon and speaks to us on so many different levels.
      Thank you for your vote of confidence with regard to my book. I will have a follow-up post about it next week.
      Enjoy your weekend,

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hello Tanja,
    What a wonderful post. I can imagine how these majestic birds have lifted your spirits even during the most bitter disappointments. Our avian friends have often provided me with much encouragement and comfort – simply by being themselves.

    I am sorry to hear about the book project, twice sorry I wasn’t aware of it. I do believe it will work out for you, as has already been mentioned, and you have my support.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind thoughts and words, Takami. I’m so grateful that I have the birds to fall back on when I’m struggling with life’s challenges, and I know you can relate to that.
      The next time you stop by, you will learn what happened to my book. 🙂
      Best wishes,

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It is amazing how the wonders of nature can soothe our troubled souls. I struggled to get my only book published and finally self-published on Kindle. In retrospect, I am grateful, as I wasn’t 100% happy with my book – I have written better posts.
    Good luck with whatever happens to the book. K x

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As it happens, I read backwards, so I know about your book; congrats and best wishes again.

    As it happens, I’ve been living with a title and a raw outline for a book for about five years.I even purchased a domain name using the title. This week, I got my final notice that the domain was expiring unless I renewed. After some thought, I decided to renew it for three years. If the book’s not done by then? I’ll be dead, in Tahiti, or just still blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Linda. Maybe you can find the the time to fill in your outline and get that book published. It might feel good to get that out of your system before moving to Tahiti. Or maybe it would be easier to move there first and write the book with a view of the ocean. 🙂


  12. Utterly divine portraits of these majestic creatures. Their cries are so wonderfully haunting… and the dancing. Exquisite! I do like your attitude toward the hitch in the book plan. Things eventually work out given time and patience… though sometimes not quite as expected. Once in awhile they’re even better than the original plan. Wishing you all the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you know what it’s like to be in the presence of these utterly enchanting birds. Thank you for your comment and the good wishes. Things did, in the end, work out, for which I’m grateful.
      Kind regards,


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