Small squalls came moving through the San Luis Valley yesterday, and just as one hit Monte Vista, I corralled Bear and loaded her into Bella. Bad weather is best, if you’re ready for it.

We headed the six miles out to the Refuge. South of town, the landscape was bathed in March sunshine and peace. From a distance, I saw that several cars were tooling along the drive-tour and I was sure from a clutch of SUVs in a particular spot that the Sandhill Cranes were being obliging to those undaunted souls with their long lenses. I’d already figured out a walk to take with Bear that wouldn’t — probably — put us in anyone’s way. There’s a small frontage road that runs parallel to the highway. Not my favorite route, obviously, but I’ve seen some lovely things from there, and I was sure we’d be alone.

We took that route. Before we’d gone very far, the squall was close enough that the sun had gone and we were hit by a 40 mph/60 kmph gust. I took Bear a few feet off the road, away from the dead trees, and turned my back to the wind. We had a soft argument about who was going to shield whom from the wind and graupel. For the moment, I won. The wind blasted my back, the graupel shot straight at us, but above? Something had inspired the cranes to take flight from the refuge and head across the highway to the barley field. Whether it was the squall or a predator or something else, I don’t know.

Thousands of cranes (and one duck?) were fighting the wind. Bear and I stood there blasted by bbs of graupel. The cranes flew over us, their voices all but lost in the tumult. As the squall moved on, we turned around, stopping now and again as a gust came up. Then, turning my back to a gust I looked up, and low above a dead cottonwood tree, a V of twenty or so cranes approached. The wind stopped, summoning energy for the next gust, and in the silent moment, I heard the concert of wings brushing the air above me.

I’m always amazed by timing. So often I have arrived somewhere in the wild world just at the perfect moment.

Photo: San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Not what I saw, but close enough so you can see the number of cranes. ❤ I also thought last night of putting together a little book of crane stories since the cranes and the refuge have been my pals through the tunnel of this past year. We’ll see.


30 thoughts on “Wonder

  1. The crane book is a good idea. With your paintings and drawings, I see it as a little gem of a book.

  2. Ya are encouraged to write ✍️ a book or something bc just now ya had ya seeing the winds on ya backs as ya 🎵 🎶 played 💃💃🎈🎈🐕🙏👍🏾✍️👋😷💭👌

  3. What a beautiful moment in the midst of the extreme gusts–timing indeed. I can see you and Bear arguing (cute). I’ve yet to see a crane. And I think that’s a great idea for you to write more stories. Not to overload you, ;-), but I see the paintings to go with them.

    • ❤ I think I maybe have already written the stories. Anyway, when I get through the two current projects I guess I can look at this one. ❤ 🙂

      • Happy Friday, Martha. I’ve read several of your crane posts; that’s the extent of my knowledge. Thank you. xoxo 💚❤🐶

  4. That photo and your tale of discovering the cranes in flight – just breathtaking. A book of crane stories is a great idea. When things like this happen – perfect timing and all that – I think it’s a sign from the universe or whoever that it’s Time. Your writing is beautiful and transports. I never knew the wonder of cranes until your blog. Go for it! 😊

  5. I want to read your book! When will it be published?? But, until then keep tantalizing us with crane stories on your blog!

Comments are closed.