I’m not in Kansas anymore. Florida either. Lots of you, probably the majority of you, may look out your windows to a view like this. But not me, not in Florida or Maryland either. And I do spend a lot of time enjoying the beauty around me in Florida, but this scenery is just amazing to me. A simple drive to run an errand and I’m looking at lovely vistas all around me. It was an absolutely beautiful day yesterday. Just seeing the sun was a treat after the rain that’s been following me around. Starting the day talking with a friend over coffee, and then winding down the day with cribbage on the porch, plus a glass of wine, is very special. As is this friendship, which began so long ago that it’s just always been there. Long ago we talked of the future and anticipated the life that was waiting for us. And now here we are, our stories have been written. We’ve turned the page and are now facing challenges that we never thought of when we were young, but we are facing them together…
We all get reminders of our memories on Facebook, posts that we made on that same date over the years. Since I’ve been blogging for nearly two years now I mostly get memories that are blog posts from last year, Today’s was a trip to the Lowry Park Zoo, and the pictures I got that day were such favorites of mine that I got some warm fuzzies to see them today. It’s been a couple of days of warm fuzzies since I’ve been doing what I can to help my son move into a house just 14 miles from me! He is back ‘home’, so to speak, and I couldn’t possibly be happier. His family will be here once school is out. The timing could be better since I’m leaving next week for my first snowbird expedition to see places and people I know and love. And to see new places and find friends I haven’t met yet. So with nothing new to post I’m happy to share this from last year. And to be thankful that Mike has come home.
You probably have said it yourself, “How did my kids grow up so fast? Now it’s the grandchildren I say that about. I wonder if wood storks have any conception of time. They hatch the chicks and they grow up and leave home all in one season on the nest. Now that’s fast.
Haven’t I always claimed that photographers are a remarkably helpful and friendly group? In general I mean. Yesterday I made a stop at the rookery since I was shopping at that shopping center anyhow, and when I went to take my step stool out of the car it wast was, sob, missing! I had taken it inside and dragged it all over the house in my curtain hanging frenzy. Even though I still have a couple of windows to go I put the step stool back in the car as soon as I got home, because I was determined to head over there today. I did take pictures yesterday, and they weren’t all that bad considering that I was shooting through the openings in the chain link fence. But they weren’t what I wanted. When I arrived at the rookery this morning there were photographers already there. Short people like me! So I offered to let them shoot from the ladder before I got up there, and they were amazed at how nice it is to shoot over the fence. Then someone said, “Oh look, the alligator is out!” Now I had seen the alligator there in a friend’s photo once, and in person once, but wasn’t able to get a photo. You can imagine me peering through the fence and asking where it was, and saying that I’ve always wanted to get a picture of it. So whoever it was who was on the ladder hurried down so I could get some shots, then he got back up again. I made some new Facebook friends today, and had such a nice time talking about photography and places to shoot. And I did get a couple of pictures too.
I call this one The Nanny, because those are Great White Egret chicks who appear to be being watched over by a wood stork. I could spin a heart warming tale about egret chicks having been abandoned and then adopted by this wood stork, but truth isn’t quite so dramatic. That wood stork is actually standing at his or her own nest directly behind the egret nest. I didn’t see any adult egrets come to that nest while I was there though. So maybe truth really is stranger than fiction…And the real wood stork chicks are growing fast. I have to wonder if there is a safety in numbers factor to why these birds choose to nest in colonies like this. It sure makes for nice photo ops.
The lost pictures I mean. Sandhill crane posts never seem to garner as much of an audience as other posts seem to, but darn it, I had to work hard to find the darn photos, all 256 of them, so I’m posting them. One of these little cuties was a day old when I took these photos, and the other one was newly hatched. It was so nice of the parents to build a nest in such a great spot to walk out on the rickety old dock to take pictures, but I could have done without the post right there next to the nest. And I came to take pictures in the afternoon to avoid shooting into the sun, and of course I got there and they were posing nicely with the babies right in the shadow of the post. But it’s raining now, and I found these pictures so I’m going with them.
The bigger picture is new life I guess, and spring arriving with all the renewal of life that it brings. Right after Charley died a friend posted a picture of her adorable new granddaughter, and I immediately thought that a life ends and a life begins. Over and over in nature the cycle continues. As it should. We humans like to think we are in charge somehow, but we aren’t, and that’s a good thing…
On Thursday morning when my neighbors had checked on the Sandhill crane nest there were still two eggs in it. Dad wanders the little lake in my former backyard, but periodically he returns to the nest and Mom seems to take that opportunity to stand up and turn the eggs, and maybe take a little swim. A sort of coffee break, Sandhill crane style. And the nest is a total departure from what they had built in the past. It’s not out on the island further from the shore. They built quite the mound, and located it perfectly for pictures, if you don’t mind negotiating the fire ant hills in the next yard down, and walking out onto the little old dock that has been there for years,. The dock sits at the back of that yard, sad and unused, and in the 12 years that I lived two doors up it’s never had water even close to it.
By mid-day I had gotten the word that one of the eggs had hatched, and I got there as fast as I could. I know from the past two years that the family was going to hang around the nest for only a day or so, but then they would march off at sunrise and return at sunset. The first time that happened two years ago I came home from work at lunch time and there were two adult cranes out there but no babies. What a moment, I was so upset. By that time I was thoroughly invested in that little family. But it must have been another pair because come late afternoon the family returned, all four of them, and I came to realize that that was going to be their routine. I read that a Sandhill crane chick must walk three miles a day, right from go, to develop those thigh muscles. I realized then that watching them raising their babies wasn’t going to be for sissies. I will go back today and hopefully find two little chicks out there having swimming lessons. And when one of them rolls down the side of that steep mounded nest I will restrain myself, as I had to on Thursday, because this is nature, taking it’s course.