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: