How Can I be More Like the Sandhill Cranes
who, like me, were also born in the sandy counties
of central Wisconsin, but have a piece of tundra in them.
They were given special lands,
wilderness sanctuaries that allowed them solitude
in their preferred habitat.
I was not.
And find myself envying them
when I feel away from home.
Clutching my binoculars, adjusting to the gentle rock of the boat
I magnified my fascination on a sedge of cranes
in the midst of ancient rites.
Who moved like they knew the land,
and had flown their annual pilgrimage
for this privilege.
(We could have departed on the very same day)
males singing, strutting, and poking at the wet earth
knowing perfectly well what they came for.
another day we caught them in flight
necks stretched out—curved
forward again, dignified and stark
lines compelling me to testify
they know precisely what they are doing here
The cranes attend to the business of living elsewhere,
but once a year follow their cryptochromes
(I believe we all must have some)
home without the guilt of leaving responsibility behind.