The Sandhill Crane’s meadow is being torn up. I wondered what the Crane would think when they came back to the meadow to find that it is no longer theirs. Land developers have taken it over, as they did when they filled in the marsh and cut down the old woodpecker’s tree.

Every year I watch the wild birds on their seasonal migration. I watch how they find their own place, first in the skies and in the trees. Some stay throughout the cold weather; others find their way back to the same trees and the same fields, year after year.

I anticipate their return, especially the Sandhill Crane. I know they are back when I hear them honking their arrival as they fill the skies. Within days I see their tall necks rising over the scrub-brush. Marching up and down through the fields and meadows, their long legs bent in awkward angles as they search for food. Now I feel sadness, wondering where they will go.

A pair Sandhill Crane came, standing at the water’s edge across from the meadow. They seemed somehow lost, unsure of their surroundings. They stood there looking at what used to be their meadow. I have to believe they will find another meadow in which to feed, and raise their young. They adapt because they have no choice. They must survive.

Together, we watched the meadow that was once the place of the Sandhill Crane being plowed under for greed rather than good. Yet there was poetic justice. At the edge of the meadow a venue of Vultures stood sentinel. Flying above the man-made chaos several more circled around and around in a persistent vigil. They seemed to know that nature itself was again being sacrificed.

Going to my own home, I noticed the nighthawk fly above me as the sun faded into shadows. I listened to the sad sounds of the dove in the cedar tree. I now understand why the dove is mourning.

~McGuffy Ann Morris 

15 thoughts on “Subsist

  1. this is just too sad…we humans are a plague upon this beautiful planet. I fear we live in a time of greed and selfishness and I am bewildered as to what I can do.


  2. I actually have seen this for myself just a few weeks ago when land owners cut down a bunch of trees along a small lake that was once covered up with wild birds…now the little lake is just sterile looking. All the herons and ducks are gone.


  3. Oh I know, I share your thoughts on this. I know of several places where they carved in an extension to the freeway, luckily in a few cases there is still a bit of wilderness for them to fall back on. We're lucky living just outside of town in a township and lots of nature still roams free, for now.


  4. So beautifully written, so very powerful, and yet so very, very sad. What is it in man's greedy makeup that means we are never satisfied, that always we must take more and more for ourselves with total disregard from those we are taking from and what is being lost along the way. Tragic, heartbreaking, and so very wrong. Thank you for being the voice for the Sandhill Cranes and for all of God's creatures!


  5. I can almost see the pair of Sandhill Cranes searching for but not finding what was once their comfort zone. As a lover of nature and all her creatures, I understand your concern over the destruction of natural settings. Yes, they like all other misplaced beings will adapt. It's a shame that they have to. Thank you for bringing their plight public.


  6. I am late with this comment, but I want to acknowledge your wonderful writing. You and I have driven past the housing development that displaced the Sandhills more than once … each time we comment on the sadness it brings. The Sandhills are smart survivors, but they have many man made obstacles they are still facing.
    Man is like a virus without a cure … we will do ourselves in someday, but in the meantime we are left to observe our distruction … Sad, very sad. It is good that you put it out there for people to see MeGuffy … that is our only small, but very important hope …



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