Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: Sandhill Cranes

Summer hibernation

Two weeks ago, we still occasionally ran the air conditioner to make the house comfortable. Now we use heaters in the morning to make it comfortable. We haven’t seen hummingbirds at our feeder for four days now. Blackbirds are gathering by the hundreds, sometimes perched all along the wires of the power lines. We hear a few sandhill cranes in the air as they fly down from their northern breeding areas. Combines can be heard from the grain fields all around us. The signs of the changing season are all around us.

Yet we are facing the coming of fall with more enthusiasm than we have for many years. You see, my wife had her last chemotherapy treatment just two days ago. Now the recovery can begin. The doctors have told us her leukemia has been beaten back, there are no remaining symptoms. All that remains is to recover from the drugs.

We went to Boston Pizza for dinner after her last treatment on Thursday, before the drugs began to distort her taste. She will have a few days of weariness, maybe a couple of weeks when things don’t taste right, some inflammation of the blood veins where the drugs were administered, plus the hidden danger of a weakened immune system.

Nevertheless, her energy level has increased towards the end of the last two cycles of treatment. She was going for two days of treatment at four-week intervals. She never felt seriously ill after the treatments, but the first two weeks after the treatments she did not have a lot of energy. Then the energy and enthusiasm would begin to increase up to the time of the next two days of treatments. Now there are no next treatments ahead of us.

It feels like we have spent spring and summer in hibernation. Now that fall and winter are ahead of us, we can wake up and learn to enjoy life once more. Rejoice with us!

Land of Living Skies

Our Saskatchewan license plates proclaim that this is the “Land of Living Skies,”  I suppose that refers to the gorgeous sunsets that we see pretty much every evening.  In spring and fall it could also describe the flocks of migratory birds that pass over our heads.

Especially in fall.  In spring the birds are in a hurry to get to their summer breeding grounds in the arctic, but in fall many of them linger for a month or two, gleaning in the harvested fields.

In summer, every pond, slough and lake is filled with ducks of some kind, along with a variety of smaller shore birds.  A few Canada Geese and Sandhill Cranes spend the summer here, but most go farther north and are only seen, and heard, in spring and fall.  Tundra Swans pause here only briefly in spring and fall.

By now most of the birds of summer have left for a warmer climate, Canada Geese and Sandhill Cranes were around in abundance for awhile but by now they too have moved on.

The Snow Geese are still here.  We can hear them on a nearby pond pretty well any time of the day or night.  Their voice is a little higher pitched than Canada Geese and they gather in much larger flocks.  There are two colour morphs among them, white and blue, with the white form being predominant.  As we drive down the roads we will see a field or a pond that is turned white by huge flocks of Snow Geese.  As we get closer, we see that there is some colour mottling because of the darker geese mingled with the white ones.

This morning at 7:30, I was sitting at my computer when I heard a sound above the humming of the furnace (yes, we are getting into that time of year here in Saskatchewan).  I rushed outside to look and there was a huge cloud of Snow Geese flying low overhead, all talking at once.  I believe there must have been 2,000 of them.  Probably heading for a field somewhere for breakfast.

Over half of these birds will have been born in spring and have never made this journey before.  But they know where they are going and next spring they will make the journey back along the same flyway, just as Snow Geese have done for as long as there have been Snow Geese.


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