The other day, the guy on the radio reported that there is a case before the Supreme Court this week dealing with… UNIONS, and frankly it’s got me more than a little concerned. I mean, without unions, there can be no reunions! And what is a migration project if not a never ending series of little reunions… connects and reconnects… of both birds and people, and all orchestrated by those masters of connectivity; our whooping cranes.

An example if this occurred last Sunday morning when our old friends and longtime Craniacs, Shelly and Cathy, stopped by for a little reunion, known in Craniac circles as a “whooper fix.” As many of you may remember, Shelly is a college biology professor and Cathy is one of our faithful CraneCam drivers. (DON’T TEXT and DRIVE!)

They were midway through their episode of “On the Road,” which started at their homes in Alabama and Indiana respectively. They rolled on down to Dauphin Island Marine Lab in Alabama, where Shelly gave a lecture on fresh water mussels (“….just put one of those little suckers between your gum and lip and Man…What a Cheeeeeeew!”). They then continued to St Marks and finally back home. We saw Cathy at CraneFest last fall but had not seen Shelly since the non-flyover here in February of 2016.

We made our way down the path through our own little Garden of Eden to the blind. On the way, we passed our new best friend, the snake.  You can’t have a Garden of Eden without a serpent. After all, it was a snake that was sole witness to the very first union… and quite a few reunions after that. “Doo dah”!

Luckily for Cat and Shelly, 5-12 and 30-16 were in the release pen.

Meanwhile, Henry (5-12) and Johnny (30-16) were out in the marsh waiting. They’re all about reunions, having just had one in December when they arrived back in St Marks.  It was like “Old Home Week,” complete with their favorite “Homies”… the white ibis, blue herons, clapper rails and…. oh yea… the raccoons.  And if snowbirding replaces snowboarding in the next Winter Olympics, our two little migrators will win the gold for sure.

We stood in the blind looking out at the lives of our whoopers while catching up on our own. And as Henry and Johnny probed the grass and mud for tasty morsels of whatever, we quietly “reunionized” with questions and answers that colored in the pages and filled in the blanks of time since our last visit. “Look… the signpost up ahead! You have entered, “The Reunion Zone.”

After an hour or so, it was time for rewind. We exited the blind… and began the long walk back to the van while the cloud of inevitable disconnection began to form, followed soon after by, goodbye hugs and “See you next time’s.”  Then, the car window smiles and waves quickly faded as Shelly’s car pulled onto Coastal Highway and disappeared down the road and into the future.

And that’s when I heard the guy on the radio report that there is a case before the Supreme Court this week dealing with…. ONIONS.  


Ah……!  Never mind.

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