Nine million years of perfection resides in the bones

And then, in a flurry and cacophony of sound, primal and singular, the guttural cries of the cranes shattered the darkness like wildness itself, with hundreds of thousands of birds lifting up the landscape with their wings. Everything was in motion: the water, the grasses, the cornfields, the sky. Flock after flock of cranes rising from river, higher and higher, flying above the Platte in all directions, some of the cranes crisscrossing each other like long undulating strands of calligraphy, writing themselves against the pages of a pastel sky. The outstretched wings of the sandhill cranes with their finger feathers extended are the farthest reaches of hope against the press of modernity. Their return is our assurance that the world is still fit for beauty. Nine million years of perfection resides in the bones of these birds that bear witness to the wisdom of evolution in its adaptive grace. Generation after generation, the memory of cranes landing in Middle America to feed and breed on the banks of the Platte River allows their story to continue.

I am the pupil of the bird blind, an eye squinting for insight beyond my own kind. The cranes slowly float back to Earth, descending like angels, only to rise and fall and rise again in the amorous play of lovers, leaping and bowing to the embodied knowledge that the future depends on each gesture granted to the other. In response to one of the oldest dances on the planet—the kind of mastery only evolution can perfect—we, also, rise to an awakened state of being for having witnessed the ongoing nature of grace.

We were close to the birds, close enough to be touched by the majesty and presence of these gray-feathered elders standing tall on the prairie with their beaks pointing upward as they danced and bowed to one another. Through the open window framing and focusing our attention, we saw what survival looks like in the shimmering light of awe.”

~ Terry Tempest Williams, Erosion: Essays of Undoing (Sarah Crichton Books, October 8, 2019)


Photo: Sandhill Cranes taking flight at sunrise, Platte River near Kear by dianarobinson

Comments

  1. Gave me a shiver so great that I will have to crank up the heating….. WHAT must it feel to see, hear, FEEL such an epic event? Magnificent.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Through the open window framing and focusing our attention, we saw what survival looks like in the shimmering light of awe.
    That sentence alone…. !

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m busy with Eleonor….. she is struggling (and so am I – I’m despairing about the « poor » woman 😉 – want to help her….)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Absolutely breathtakingly good!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. To be able to write like that, evoke so much within the reader by sharing her observations of nature. Wow.
    And here I was thrilled that I capture the one!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. that must be a sight, and a sound, to behold.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a magical moment. We have Sandhill Cranes all around us here, albeit not in such volume. They’re fascinating to watch. Their dances bring to mind Kabuki…so elegant and ritualized.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve seen the fall migration of the sandhill cranes coming down from Saskatchewan over Montana. Beautiful sight and sounds.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh my. This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read in quite some time.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. WOW

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The writing and the image took my breath away.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. 💪💯

    Liked by 1 person

  13. So very nice

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Very moving. Magical writing. Thanks for bringing us in to this moment David ❣️

    Liked by 1 person

  15. “…that the world is still fit for beauty.”
    And,
    “an eye squinting for insight beyond my own kind.”

    Love this, and so needed it today.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Beautiful Photo…Always enjoy watching these Amazing & Graceful Sandhill Cranes, Trumpeter Swans and Whooping Cranes.. when we go to Montana.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. magnificent.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Jim Borden Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: