It has been five years of searching. Five years of chasing leads and winding up empty-handed. I knew they existed, I had seen pictures of them in the newspaper. Five years of telling people “Nope, don’t have any pictures of them.” Five years, and I had lost all hope of every finding one. Just as I was ready to close the book on them, I started receiving new leads detailing even more sightings. Although it was just more of the same rhetoric, “I just saw them” or “There’s always some there”, I had a different feeling about these leads…I don’t know, call it a hunch, maybe just wishful thinking, but somehow I knew one of these leads would take me directly to them.
The first, and in my opinion the most promising, was in the Cecil Webb Wildlife Management Area. I had received a phone message in which the caller indicated he could see them from where he was standing. His description left no doubt, he was indeed looking directly at one of them. Since it was late in the day, I made plans to visit the Wildlife Management Area the following afternoon.
The next day my wife, Ann, and I loaded up our vehicle around two in the afternoon and off we went to the Wildlife Management Area. We searched and searched…saw lots of critters and some awesome wildflowers. Spent the whole afternoon looking and even queried a fellow photographer, but at the end of the day, it wound up in the growing pile of promising leads that did not pan out.
A few days later and another lead made its way into my inbox. This time it was an email from a friend, who was told by a friend, that they had seen some of them. A tip from a friend of a friend, yeah right, this sounds really promising. More like another wasted trip chasing the proverbial wild goose.
Even though the details were rather vague, we were off and running shortly after receiving the email. In no time, things went from positive to negative. Once again, we were riding up and down a road looking for them and once again, we did not spot a single one. I was beginning to feel like we were the butt of a practical joke and our soon to be ex-friend was hiding behind one of the many bushes watching us make fools of ourselves and laughing her head off.
Finally, at Ann’s insistence, we stopped and I talked to a husband and wife who working in their yard. We had a great chat and yes, they told me the exact spot where I could find some of them. I ran back to our vehicle. I was pumped because it was finally going to happen, the elusive image was all mine. I broke the speed limit getting to the spot and pulled over to the side of the road. We were at the spot, the exact spot, this was it, and…and…nothing, they were nowhere in sight. Not again, but…but they were supposed to be here…UGH! Just like many times before, we left empty handed and definitely not very happy campers.
We had some errands to run and on our way back home, Ann suggested that since the spot where they were supposed to be was kind of on our way, why not give it a second chance. As we passed by the spot, I was unable to slow down because the car behind us was so close to our bumper I was sure they were trying to remove some of the paint. Just as I passed the spot, Ann said, “I think I saw something with very long legs.” At the risk of losing more than just bumper paint, I did not dare hit the brakes. We decided we would play it safe and use the alternate access route the couple had provided.
I parked our vehicle and then took the long walk to the spot where Ann saw the long legs. As I arrived, I scanned the area but did not see them. Just as I was deciding Ann might need to visit the eye doctor soon, I saw movement to my left. As I spun around, there they were, three of them, mom, dad, and the kid. They were indeed tall and quite large. They were beautiful, they were staring at me…oh, wait, I’m supposed to be taking some pictures. Well, it was such an overwhelming sight that a few pictures turned into three-hundred and twenty-two, to be precise.
Wow, five years and we finally found them. Funny, the odd way they were looking at me it was almost as if they were saying, “What the heck took you so long?”
Here they are…Mr. and Mrs. Sandhill Crane.
Oh, and let’s not forget their kid.
It was a perfect day for the family to enjoy some time together foraging for good things to eat.
Well, it only took five years to get that off my list…humm, I wonder what’s next.
Another great adventure comes to an end. It doesn’t get any better than this…well, unless you’re talking about finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. That might just be a step up from this story.
I guess as we travel the road of life, we can never be really sure which way the road will turn…one thing’s for certain though, if you pass the same tree more than once, you may want to consider the fact that you just might be going in circles.
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