Archive for August 29th, 2011
I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?‘ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.
It’s admittedly a little confusing. Is God the American people? Is God a Teabagger? Is God speaking for the Teabaggers? Exactly what did Teabagger hotspot and hurricane-hammered North Carolina do to provoke God/Teabaggers/the American People? But, like Pat Robertson and the Haitian earthquake, Bachmann hastens to blame human misery and natural disasters on God’s motives. Is Bachmann saying God sent Hurricane Irene up the East Coast, killing more than 20 people, to help the Teabaggers’ political campaigns?
And Bachmann made this statement to a crowd of Floridians, who have been thrashed by more hurricanes than anyone else. Oh, an the politicians, like Rep. Bachman, were out of town anyhow, even if there is pressing work in D.C.
WC can’t take much more of Bachmann’s squeaky, fingernails on a chalkboard voice, her pious hypocrisy or her daffy homophobic husband. Can the good people of Minnesota please put both of them back under whatever rock they were under and leave them there?
The Sandhill Crane Festival was August 26-28 here in Fairbanks. For the after-party, WC thought he’d re-post an essay he originally wrote for another forum a couple of years ago, with some new photos for variety.
The Magic of Sandhill Cranes
Each fall, several thousand Lesser Sandhill Cranes stage at Creamer’s Field Migratory Wildlife Refuge as a part of their fall migration. The Refuge, a former dairy, is managed by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game as a working farm and hosts large numbers of waterfowl in both the spring and fall. But it’s in the fall that the Sandhill Cranes arrive in impressive numbers.
The Refuge is located in Fairbanks, Alaska on the northern edge of the town. While the fractious Alaska residents don’t agree on many environmental issues, the range of beliefs and people that make a point to visit the cranes each fall gives even the most disenchanted environmentalist some hope for common ground. NRA and Audubon bumper stickers are on adjoining cars, and their respective drivers watch and listen to the birds with the same evident delight. Parents bring children, and sometimes you can see the connection between man and nature, between human time and natural time, freshly remade.
The cranes are also the stars of the annual Tanana Valley Sandhill Crane Festival, usually held in the third week of August. Sponsored by the Friends of Creamer’s Field, the Festival also features a special guest, usually a scientist, artist, writer or photographer whose work has focused on cranes and their worlds. Some of the seminars are held outdoors. And sometimes the speakers have to pause while an especially raucous flock of cranes flies overhead, after being flushed by a Peregrine Falcon.
And on one morning, each fall, the birds will be more restive than usual, the dancing and jumping a bit more pronounced, and the calls a little louder and mutual. If the wind is from the northwest, the jumping will gradually extend to short flying hops. The calls will become even more responsive. And with no more warning than that, the whole flock, several thousand strong, will launch, spiraling up, in a kettle a quarter mile across, calling loudly the whole time, spiraling up again and again until there are only distant calls, the birds themselves invisible against the autumn sky. And then the calling will move southeast. It is primeval, natural and astonishing if you are lucky enough to be there to see and hear.