When the Cranes Come by Sara Wright

Picture of a group of cranes flying in the dusk sky
When the Cranes Come
I remember who I am –
A woman with wings.

When the Cranes Come
I listen with rapt attention
I am a woman with wings.

When the Cranes Come
I am pulled into a primordial field
I am a woman with wings. 

When the Cranes Come
I know I must fly with them
I am a woman with wings.

When the Cranes Come
I remember that community is real
I am a woman with wings.

When the Cranes Come
I believe hope can be restored
I am a woman with wings.

When the Cranes Come
I lay down in frost – covered reeds
In peace with Sand -hill Cranes.


Working Notes

“By paying attention to what is real and true and authentic we come home to ourselves.” I paraphrase Terry Tempest Williams words although I have used these very same words myself.

 Paying attention to Nature is just what I do. It is my primary survival tool. My joy is hidden here in experiences of the Now. Paying attention also forces me to witness heartrending Earth broken-ness, and this witnessing leaches the life force out of me.  

Whenever I am pulled into the “field” of Sandhill Cranes I undergo a mystical transformation.

There is something about these most ancient birds that live together in peaceful community, who stay together, who migrate in family groups, who look after one another that “call” me to them in a way I can’t comprehend, but feels so familiar… like a dream I can’t quite remember.

What I do know is that I must follow them. I must allow myself to believe that there may still be hope.  

These last years have been impossible because I am witnessing earth destruction daily through the loss of so many animals and plants, polluted air, water and soil. So much slaughter. The earth is going up in flames – Fires rage, destroying the forests that allow us to breathe, and drought cracks open the earth, withering the most resistant trees. Dust chokes desert air. 

I endure – waiting – no longer believing any action will be enough to stay the human greed, hatred, warmongering, lies, loss of decency, compassion, humility. 

That is, until I see the Sandhill Cranes flying overhead with their gray gracefully curved wings, their long legs floating behind them – during those precious moments I am filled with inexplicable hope and joy – I once again experience wholeness.

 The Cranes call me home.


Sara is a naturalist, ethologist ( a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Northern New Mexico.

Categories: animals, Healing, Nature, Spirituality

Tags: , ,

8 replies

  1. There’s not much that’s as beautiful as a flock or cranes–or geese or flamingos–flying across a clear sky above us. When I lived near Crab Orchard Lake in Illinois, I could walk out my door and see the migrating geese flying a dozen feet above the duplex I lived in. Seeing and hearing them was heart-stoppingly beautiful.

    Have you seen the 1996 movie Fly Away Home? It’s about a 13-year-old girl who imprints an orphaned flock of Canada geese and learns to fly an ultralight plane so she can lead them to a sanctuary in the South. It’s dangerous and scary for this young “Mama Goose,” but she’s determined to save the birds. The stars are Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin (who was, I think, age 14 at the time). It’s a beautiful movie that shares the emotions you express in your poem: she’s a girl with wings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Barbara, I love that movie and have seen it many times!

      And yes, like you I am thrilled to see these waterbirds – I love the geese too, but the cranes? Well, I’m not quite sure – but I think I must be a relative or something.

      Flamingos I saw in Florida a long time ago…


  2. Sara, you’ve got me thinking about a world where humans never forked off the similar path of harmony. Imagine the aeons of wisdom and delightful creativity we’d be enjoying now, since we already have a fair amount despite the odds.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think in the same vein every time I see the cranes… it is getting close to the time that they will be leaving – last year I was heartbroken but this year I am so full of profound gratitude for being with them all winter that I am more accepting… like the cranes, I too must migrate north.


  3. So beautiful, Sara. Thank you for paying attention and praying attention to the Sandhill Cranes.


  4. This is so resonant for me here in Madison, Wisconsin. Soon they will return and soothe my impatience.
    Lovely. Thank you.


  5. Oh, there is nothing like it is there? And there you will have thousands…

    I just read that 300 cranes were shot by hunters in Alabama where they celebrated their first year of crane slaughter….


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