This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills wrote about the different species of crane that inhabit North America and included an image of the stunning crowned grey crane.
I was fascinated by the story of an ornithologist and a crane and, when she challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story defining “the charisma of cranes”, I wondered why my mind drew a blank. I struggled to recall ever seeing a crane.
Charli’s additional information that “For centuries, cranes have inspired art and philosophy” and her suggestion that, “You can write a crane story or create something new out of the phrase. Go where the prompt leads”, didn’t make it any easier.
I consulted my favourite book of Birds of Australia. It listed only two cranes. One I knew of as the Brolga. The other, the Sarus Crane, I hadn’t heard of.
An online check confirmed the two species. The Brolga is famous for its dance and features in many Aboriginal legends and dances. At over 1 m tall and with a wingspan of 2.4 m, it is one of Australia’s largest flying birds. The Sarus Crane is rare and lesser known.
To my embarrassment, I also discovered that the Brolga is the bird emblem of my home state Queensland and appears on its Coat of Arms. Information about the Coat of Arms tells me that the Brolga is one of Queensland’s most distinctive birds and “symbolises the native population”.
Follow this link for information about the importance of the Brolga to Indigenous Australians and a video of an Aboriginal story.
More familiar to me are the cranes that dot the ever-changing city skyline as new buildings creep skywards.
For my response to Charli’s prompt, I’ve avoided the birds and employed two other meanings of crane. It might be stretching it a bit, but I hope you like it.
Living the nightmare
The shaft of light reflecting from the mirror jolted her awake.
“What time is it?” She fumbled for her phone. “Hell!” All night she’d craved sleep, then slept through. She pulled on yesterday’s clothes, ruffled her hair and charged out.
People packed the square so tight she couldn’t squeeze through. She craned her neck but, even on tiptoes, couldn’t see. She pushed into the tiniest gap on a ledge, only to be elbowed off. But she’d spotted a cherry picker. She climbed in, pushed a button and up she went; just as the crowd dispersed. She’d missed out again.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.