Almost over

Today is the last day of November of a year I will be happy to see fade into memory. Also, woke this morning to a gorgeous moon golden over the horizon, the second full moon of the month, a blue moon.

But today’s selection has nothing to do with either of these. It’s a poetic retelling of how the Sandhill Crane got his red mask, by an Iñupiaq poet.  Each year I go to Lodi to see these majestic birds–dust colored with a maroon swatch over the eyes. They make a cranky, creaking sound, like a rusty hinge, and are gorgeous in flight.


One spring, sandhill cranes flew into sight.

Having landed, they became hard to spot,

Their bodies and wings dirt brown,

The color of dead willow leaves.

That fall, the crane wife fed her husband

Cranberries. He balked. He made fun

Of the tiny morsel. That night, while he slept,

She dressed his eyes in red berry pulp.

Staining him for life.


by Marie Tozier


“The American Living Room: A Tract”