Friday, March 20, 2009

"Home" in Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska

Nebraska is not quite home any more, but I feel its deep-rooted home-ness in my spirit. When I come back to my parents', I feel a freedom to take a deep breath and spread out in the open spaces.

This is what I miss most about my deep-roots home: open sky, open fields. I always thought I would like to be a farmer's wife some day... I still kind of think that. Which is funny, because I love living in New Orleans and generally have a calling to the inner city. As my life is, I will enjoy my brief time back in the Midwest and spread out as much as possible.

Yesterday my grandma and I headed West in her CRV to try and catch the annual migration of the sandhill crane. They fly in late-February and stay for about a month, fattening up on leftover field corn and hooking up with a mate. Our goal was to see them land for the night on the Platte River, though neither of us knew quite what we were in for.

We drove for hours along country roads, her sitting in the passenger seat and I asking her non-stop questions about what it was like to grow up on the farm. We stopped every so often to pull off and watch the cranes in the fields with our binoculars. We also stopped to see thousands of snow geese on a pond. These geese were amazing! There were sooooo many of them, which was pretty spectacular in and of itself. The most amazing thing happened, though, when by some mysterious signal they all took flight at once. They converged into a giant cloud above us that twisted and formed loudly, swirling and changing. The birds created a live art exhibit with changing shapes, angles, colors, and seemingly choreographed patterns. Then they gathered shape in the sky as a hurricane cloud, circling, circling... then slowly unraveling downward. A ribbon of white and gray gently twisted down toward the water, and the ribbon widened so it looked like a tornado of birds.

My grandma and I stood there breathless at this beautiful sight. There was no way to describe its magnificence. And while the landing of hundreds of thousands of cranes on the Platte River at sunset was also amazing, I think my favorite part of the day was the snow geese.

Here's a couple pictures of the geese on the water. The first is of my grandma watching them through binoculars--all those white specks are the geese! The other one is of them taking flight.