Friday, March 23, 2012

The Exuberance of Sandhill Cranes

Crane season lasts only about a month here in Nebraska, which still makes us incredibly lucky as they just fly through most other places.
The first thing you notice, about mid- to late-February is their song. They'll be flying high overhead and you'll hear hoots and trills.
Then you'll begin to see small groups of them in the corn fields along the highway.
Finally, you'll see large groups of them covering the fields and pastures. The sound of their song fills your ears when you take the time to stop and listen.
Morning and night you'll see large "kettles" of them flying in the distance as they travel to and from their roosts in the Platte River.
On this beautiful March morning, I was fortunate enough to find several medium-sized flocks along North River Road just north of Sutherland.
I was tempted to get out of my car and try to sneak closer, but they are hunted in many other states along their migration route and are very wary of people on foot.
As it was, they were very close to the road when I first stopped, but before I knew it, they were several hundred feet further away.
They just kind of nonchalantly eased away without my even noticing it. Then when they felt they were a safe distance, they just stayed put.
The Sandhill Crane migration in Nebraska is something that those of us who live here take for granted.
We don't understand how magnificent these birds are and how rare it is to see so many of them in one place at the same time.
In fact, people who live near the river and fields they flock to even get tired of the constant noise of their songs.
I am just as bad as the next person, driving past the flocks in my hurry to get to and from work each day, oblivious to the beauty of their song and dance.
But when you do take the time... take a slower route home from work... drive with the windows down... pull over when you get the chance...
Their songs and the exuberance of their dance fill your heart with joy.
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handedI hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
When one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance... I hope you dance
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances, but they're worth takin'
Lovin' might be a mistake, but it's worth makin'
Don't let some Hellbent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin' out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
Of course, those words are from the LeAnn Womack song "I Hope You Dance."
There's an Irish drinking song by the Blarney Rebel Band: When You're Dead, You'll Wish you had Danced.
Who knows where we’ll be tomorrow We only know today
And what the future will bring us None of us can say
So drink up while you can, you may not get another chance
When you’re dead, you’ll wish you had danced.
Don’t live your life worrying about what people might say
Don’t stand and watch the others have all the fun
Don’t put off until tomorrow things you want to do today
Don’t leave regretting things you left undone
Though I’m still not the dancing kind there’s little else that I won’t do
And I’ll try my best to do it all before my time is through
And I won’t live my life based on what other folks might think
I’ll smile at them and tip my cap and offer them a drink and say
Who knows where we’ll be tomorrow We only know today
And what the future will bring us None of us can say
So drink up while you can, you may not get another chance
When you’re dead, you’ll wish you had danced.
Thanks for stopping by. Forget the coffee. Get out there and dance.

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