Many ideas, intentions and thoughts circulate at the beginning of a calendar year in western culture, and often some reflection is given to important acknowledgments of the year just passed. New years are a time to review, reflect, recharge, and ideally look to new beginnings, no matter what occurs. Naturally, in the throes of personal crisis or grief, we need be present to that in the healthiest of ways. In those times it may provide us the opportunity to be more certain as to what comforts or soothes us, or even who. Belonging, connection and community seem to matter more and more when we face a crisis, or feel separated from others, or perhaps lose direction.
So many species in nature understand the cycles of living, of being able to adapt when food becomes scarce, or weather conditions alter their course, or they lose some from their herd or flock. Sandhill cranes are other worldly to watch. They generally travel long distances in a chevron shape, and circling if they need wait for others to catch up. To see them in the air, or coming in for a landing or standing in fields munching as part of the north/south migration, it can be inspiring. Inspiring by the rarity for many of us to get to see these birds, but also to witness their community, and nature doing what nature knows to do no matter the threats, most not of nature’s making, but nature continues doing what she has always done.
There is a true awe feeling to hear the slow sound of flapping wings as a crane passes overhead, or the deep trill purring sound cranes make to alert, locate, communicate with one another. Depending on the numbers of cranes in a group on the ground, one or more will have the role of sentry or look out, so the others can eat and explore. They take turns.
When we look up to see cranes in flight we may be seeing a couple, or a couple with their offspring, or any additional configuration of that, but rarely do they fly alone. They are a community, being together in this new year, doing what they always have done, heading south to feed, and soon headed north. Together they fly, look out for each other, and go in the same direction. They do this now and every year. There is a beauty to constancy, and moving in a forward direction together. 2022, here we are.
(Photo credit LLZ)