Thursday, April 18 2024 - 9:11 AM
Sandhill canes are loyal to their mates
Photo by Dreamstime

Committed Cranes

We enjoy watching birds and have many coastal birds around our home. For the past several years we have had a pair of Sandhill cranes that stay close to our neighborhood. I can usually look out the back of the house on any day and see “Mrs. Crane” on the other side of our small lake. She never goes far since she is missing one foot (probably an alligator accident), and hobbles around when she isn’t resting on the ground. Sometimes it seems that Mrs. Crane is actually nesting since last year we could see an egg. But no chick has ever emerged. Evidently she cannot fulfill her natural procreative duty.

The cranes mate for life, selecting the mate from a perfect display of “dancing.” Our Mr. Crane is very dedicated to his partner and is often seen near her. He seems to be especially protective of her and honks loudly when anyone comes too close to where they are feeding or standing. Sometimes they are right outside our back gate, whooping it up with their calls.

We have been impressed by the faithfulness of this pair as they stay near our lake. Last week my husband asked me if I had ever written a blog about the cranes. He was asking specifically about the bond and care that Mr. Crane seems to have for his injured mate. Mr. Crane could opt for a young, healthy mate to accompany him to exotic locations, yet his genes and instinct keep him near home.

Today I stayed in a medical surgical building for hours, waiting for my husband to have shoulder surgery. He has had pain in his left arm and shoulder for months and finally was able to get the repair surgery that he needed. Last winter he waited while I had surgery, and five years ago he was the one who brought me home on crutches after knee repair.

This week I will be on nursing duty. He will need me in a special way.

During our years of marriage we have watched both of our fathers and several good friends spend years caring for their spouses, due to health problems. Our dads worked hard nursing and caring, to the detriment of their retirement years. Spouses that “stay” can speak to the world about the image of God in our human commitments even though the relationships are not perfection.

Often we do not understand what commitment will require of us until we reach advanced chronological age! Serious mental, emotional or physical health issues tax patience, strength, and finances. It is precisely when the world turns upside down with a diagnosis or accident that having a caring spouse means secure, mature love.

Even now in the pouring rain I can look out and see Mr. Crane hunched not far from where Mrs. Crane sits on the ground. A living lesson in the strength of a lifelong bond.

Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:

  1. What examples in nature have spoken to you of God’s design for a caring bond?
  2. How can you strengthen your relationship with a spouse or friend that might help support you both through hard times? What steps can you take now?

Karen Spruill writes from Florida.

If you liked this, you may also like God’s Picnic 

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About Karen Spruill

Karen Spruill

writes from Orlando, Florida.

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