Saturday, July 25, 2015

Highway 61 revisited -- by cranes

This morning was a classic warm, humid Summer day's start, with ground fog or mist hanging over the fields. I love the way my part of the world looks through early morning mist. Later, the Better Half [BH] and I needed to do some local errands today so we headed north on I-35 and west on MN 95 through North Branch to Cambridge. (North Branch is lacking a local book store, a branch office of our credit union, and a grocery coop.) Cambridge has all three. This weekend it also has the Isanti county fair.

misty Summer morning
misty Summer morning
Photo by J. Harrington

Most of the farm fields along MN 95 between North Branch and Cambridge this year are planted in soy beans. I would have guessed it might be a 50-50 split, plus or minus 10% or so, but it looked to me more like 80% to 90% beans. Cambridge had a farmers market in the parking lot of the building housing the book store, coffee shop and food coop so we picked up some yellow beans, small cucumbers, a few books for the BH and coffee for each of us.

We headed east on MN 95 back to North Branch and I decided to head south on the more scenic Highway 61 instead of I-35. It was a fortunate choice becasue about the time I was pondering what it was that caused most of the farmers along 61 to plant corn while those along 95 went with beans this year, my BH exclaimed "Holy expletive deleted, did you see that?" In my inimitable way I replied "See what?" She said "that huge flock of cranes--pull over and look back." I did so and, feeling unfortunately like The Fonz from Happy Days, looked over my right shoulder and said "What? Where?" We made a u-turn and pulled onto the shoulder. That's when I finally noticed what now looks like a line of dots across the middle of the picture but is actually a couple dozen or so sandhill cranes.

sandhill cranes revisiting along Highway 61
sandhill cranes revisiting along Highway 61
Photo by J. Harrington

Here's a "close-up" of part of the flock. Sights like this are a good part of the reason of why we live where we do. (Photos like this are moving me to consider a either new lens or photography lessons or both, which might be more productive than trying to sort out whether I had equipment failure or operator error.)

sandhill cranes "close-up"
sandhill cranes "close-up"
Photo by J. Harrington

The Cranes, Texas January

By Mark Sanders 

I call my wife outdoors to have her listen,
to turn her ears upward, beyond the cloud-veiled
sky where the moon dances thin light,
to tell her, “Don’t hear the cars on the freeway—

it’s not the truck-rumble. It is and is not
the sirens.” She stands there, on deck
a rocking boat, wanting to please the captain
who would have her hear the inaudible.

Her eyes, so blue the day sky is envious,
fix blackly on me, her mouth poised on question
like a stone. But, she hears, after all.
                                                           January on the Gulf,  
warm wind washing over us, 
we stand chilled in the winter of those voices.


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