I visited southern Colorado today and spent a couple hours at the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge watching the cranes. I'm something of an adorer of cranes the last few years. I've never been much of a birder or even know much about birds... but about 6 years ago I was living briefly in eastern Oregon and was walking my dog in a completely illegal place (I was blissfully unaware I wasn't supposed to be there) on a wildlife refuge... and I saw two huge grey birds that made the most amazing sounds. I bombarded the ranger who came to kick me off the refuge (in his huge truck! I'm guessing the diesel fumes and noise were more disturbing than my footfalls, but you can't argue with a man in a big truck) with questions about those big birds. All he told me was they were probably sandhills. Since then I've been chasing the sandhill flock that winters in Socorro, NM, flies over my current home in northern NM, and stops in Monte Vista, one of my last homes, before flying to Canada for their summer reproductive fun. The cranes are amazing every year, partly because they are such large birds and are so fun to watch, but also because they are predictably there, yet threatened in every possibly way in this world.
On my way home from watching the cranes I got some good news about a possible show next year (details sketchy and untellable yet), Yeah! ...and some bad news from a dear friend who's 96 year old grandfather was badly burned in his back yard in Illinois trying to burn weeds. He died a few hours later. Sometimes our days are such a mix of joy and sorrow--I guess that is called life.