On Thursday Ken and I spent part of our 37th anniversary together at the Muleshoe Wildlife Preserve. Though two of the lakes we visited were dry, the wintering Sandhill cranes began circling overhead some time after four o'clock. As soon as you get out of the car, you can hear their characteristic call, and yet only a few seem to be standing in shallow water of one of the lakes. You train you eyes on the distance and see nothing but black dots at first. Then they begin to circle closer and closer, their undersides turning golden from the late afternoon sun. Because of their size, they do not aim quite as directly for earth as smaller birds do. They are magical and graceful creatures as they circle in for their landings, a lot like jets at an airport. By dusk the lake will be full. Below I've set up a slide show of photos of the cranes and a few scenes of the drought-ridden landscape that still manages to charm--an hour and twenty minutes from Lubbock.
Richard Jespers is a writer living in Lubbock, Texas, USA.
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