October 27, 2005

The clock of the seasons: sandhill cranes

On Wednesday the 19th I left my building, headed over to the Humanities office for a cup of coffee, and I heard them. A flock of 25-30 sandhill cranes was passing overhead, southbound, calling loudly.

None of the people passing by on the sidewalk looked up.

That night, under the gibbous Moon, more cranes passed over my house, and the next day there were more, maybe 60, circling to catch a thermal and then swinging south along the Wet Mountains.

Finally, on the 24th, a bright, cloudless fall day, I thought I heard more overhead when I was working outdoors, but I could not see them. Either M. was right and they were "ghost cranes," or they were behind the ridge.

The cranes' migration is like Big Ben donging the hour: early autumn is ending. All I can say is "Good-bye--see you in December at Bosque del Apache."


gl. said...

we were out picking pumpkins yesterday and saw at least 10 flocks of geese winging their way away from sauvie island, chattering like a party.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Cranes and geese . . . reminds me of one of many goofs in the 1990 movie Dances with Wolves, where sandhill cranes fly overhead while you hear Canada geese on the soundtrack.