One of my utter joys in life is receiving crafted words
from people like John Vukmirovich.
His latest came after an exchange about sandhills. He lives in the 10th Ward on Chicago's Southeast Side. The photo above is my best one (yes, I do need to get a better one) of flying sandhills.
I put the paragraph breaks in to make for easier reading. And this is worth reading.
My bitterness about outdoor communication is growing each day. Just because somebody wears a fishing shirt emblazoned with a corporate logo doesn't mean they can craft words. In fact, quite often it means the exact opposite.
Here is a crafting of words and of experiencing the outdoors:
On Tuesday, March 1st, a number of Sandhill cranes flew over my house here in the 10th Ward. The morning was very cold, the sky a cloudless, brittle blue with a blistering north wind.
A few minutes after nine, a smattering of three cranes flew over, as quiet and soft as their dun coloring, heading northwest, muscling their way against the wind. I've witnessed this trait only a few times before, where a small number of cranes keep silent, whereas they are usually quite cacophonous. One usually hears them before seeing them.
Later, a few minutes before ten, a skein of about seventy to eighty cranes flew over, very high and arcing to the west-northwest in a loose v-formation. Twenty minutes later, another large skein was tracking almost due west, towards Lake Calumet, although I don't think they were going to land there, as they too were very high in a bright, eye-watering sky.
Despite their altitude, both skeins were as loud as Mardi Gras.
Since then, the weather has been overcast here, or I've been away from the house and missed them if any others have come over.
I usually feel the sap rising in me after a crane sighting, as it means spring is here, and they bring back many memories of prior sightings over decades, along with memories of my parents, both now gone. But their height, and the bitter cold, made them seem distant, fleeting, and elusive.
It's easy to be a romantic and personify nature, and I'm usually against this tendency. But in the case of the cranes, I make an exception. They are graceful, resilient, and mindful of their own kind, all the things we are supposed to be as human beings, but all too often, are not.
That my friends, in my world, is how you pick up words and put them down.