Monday, March 1, 2010


As I sit here on my driveway with an angle grinder and a hacksaw slowly turning a rusty, decrepit old boat trailer into a rusty, decrepit new dog trailer (to haul around a newly-lone dog who usually ends up on the front seat anyway...) I hear a faint sound from far above my head, a familiar trilling cry that - coming on the last day of an epically cold, dark and miserable month - is pure auditory sunshine.

A ragged, undulating V of sandhill cranes winging north along an invisible trail seen only by them.  If air currents could show ruts, how deep would they be from the eons of their passing? I hear memory and time and forever itself distilled in that haunting call. And hope.

It is called zugunruhe, and simply put, it is an innate restlessness, an instinctive urge to move with the seasons. We all possess it on some primordial level, but chained by circumstance, most of us long ago turned a deaf ear to its call. But when I hear the sandhills floating overhead it always stirs something inside me, a migration of the state of mind if not the body, a transition from the brooding introspection of late winter to the hope and exuberance of spring.

On this last day of February that's what the cranes are promising. Soon enough the water will warm, the bass will start spawning, the toms will start gobbling and even the cranks among us will smile and feel young again. Even fat, middle-aged cynics still have dandelion wine dreams of renewal, and this year mine can't come soon enough...

Goodbye, February. And don't let the door hit your ass on the way out... 


  1. I hope your new companion helps to fill the void left by the last. Looks like you are looking forward to making new memories, the call of Spring warms my blood and fill me me expectations of good times coming too!

  2. Glad to know there's a word for it and I wish it were one I'd have a chance of spelling correctly.

    There's a flock of Canadas that flies over our house once every fall. It's always in the morning, before my boyfriend wakes up. I always go thundering through the house and skidding out the door in my bare feet to see them. They're always right over us. Makes me very restless everyt time.

  3. I too am glad there's a word for it, but having long given trying to spell, my concern is more one of pronunciation [ctrl-click-select]

  4. We're feeling a bit of that even up here in Vermont, where we know winter may last another month or more! Nice post. Glad to hear your spirits are lifting.

  5. That is a good word for the feeling. And it is a good feeling, if hard sometimes.

    Living on a Delta in the lower end of the Pacific flyway and at the base of the Sierra Nevada, the seasons turn with birds to a great degree. It is nice, but I'm always torn when I see the waterfowl and cranes heading North. Soon, their songs will no longer fill the sky, for another year.