The Dance

As I have self-proclaimed on earlier posts, I’m a total CRANIAC!  I just absolutely adore sandhill cranes – from the baby colts to the full grown … they never cease to intrigue me and make me want to photograph them.  So you can imagine when Tom told me that he had just spotted a sandhill crane and its young out in the Beluga Lake Slough in Homer, Alaska.

With this adult feeding low in the grasses, I can see why Tom thought it was a colt

With this adult feeding low in the grasses, I can see why Tom thought it was a colt

Of course, I begged Tom to stop so that I could run out and take a peek for myself and hopefully capture an image or two.  He obliged and I ran out, but when I got there I noticed no colt, but in fact two fully grown cranes, probably mates.

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Even so, the scenery with them against the lush green grasses and the deep blue sky was enough for me to begin shooting.  Then, as some nearby joggers past by and I feared that they would scare away my crane subjects, something was beginning to happen …

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They began to get excited to their surroundings and to each other.  See, sandhill cranes do this type of dance to and with each other, that simply expresses their closeness and affection towards each other and celebrates their union together.

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From their calling out, to their posturing and presenting themselves to each other, they looked more like ballerinas of the tundra and they unfolded their story to me.  I struggled with whether I should continue to shoot images, or switch over to video, to capture best the experience … even thought about simply putting down my toys and simply watching them … well, dance.

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While watching and photographing (it won out over the video), I couldn’t help but hear the song “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack playing over and over in my mind.  What a beautiful moment it was and I can’t tell you how privileged I felt to be able to witness it.

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Every so often they would appear that the dance was over, but alas, they would re-unite in their passion to sing and dance together.

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Eventually though, they did ultimately fly off into the distance together, but not before they literally had me with tears in my eyes.  What a lucky couple they were and in a weird way, I envied what they were displaying.  I mean, isn’t that we all want?  🙂

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Poor Tom, when I returned had to figure out what happened to me and why I had tears in eyes and rolling down my face.  I shared with him what I saw and tried the best that I could to explain what it meant and how it moved me.   I think he understood … and I wished that he would have come out to see it too.  I wanted to get his attention to join me, but I didn’t want to risk missing the show.  🙂

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Homer has a lot more than sandhill cranes to offer.  Stay tuned for more from Homer, AK.

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