The Trumpet in the Orchestra of Evolution

We live beneath a bird highway.  Every year thousands of Sandhill Cranes use the highway to fly back and forth to summer breeding grounds and winter feeding grounds.  They mark the changes of summer to autumn and winter to spring for us.  We use them to keep track of our lives.  cranes-and-moon-1-of-1.jpg

We heard the first cranes of this year’s autumn today and thought of these fine words about cranes from Aldo Leopold:

When we hear his call we hear no mere bird.  We hear the trumpet in the orchestra of evolution.  He is the symbol of our untamable past, of that incredible sweep of millennia which underlies and conditions the daily affairs of birds and men.

Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty.  It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.  The quality of cranes lies, I think, in this higher gamut, as yet beyond the reach of words.  

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2 Responses to “The Trumpet in the Orchestra of Evolution”

  1. jim senka Says:

    thanks for our posting.
    we too live under the sandhill flyway and just a minute ago (april 23/’09) we heard and then saw the first flocks of the season. a truly magnificent event.
    for us (and all of nature, i suppose) this is a wonderful event that makes me feel so allive!

    i would estimate that more than 20,000 sandhills pass over us twice a year.

    jim senka
    smithers, british columbia

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