I had a face-off with a crane this morning. Mama or Papa I wasn’t sure, but I’m going with PaPa, for this was a form of road rage I was vaguely familiar with.
On the way home from town, my road was blocked by a startlingly beautiful young family of Sandhills. High-stepping in circles on the pavement. Clearly confused. I dropped the minivan into a halt long before I got too close. Thought I might get the best show if I gave them some space.
All three moved towards the shoulder, but quickly returned to the middle of the road, as if they missed something important the first time they crossed over. They just looked at me, strutting this way and that, in no hurry to get anywhere. I inched forward in an effort to give them the nudge they needed to continue on down to the pond. The forward movement of the van thirty yards away was immediately interpreted by the largest crane as an act of aggression. He dropped his head in my general direction and hunkered down. His wife (?) and baby shuffled around the shoulder.
I stopped. Slightly wide-eyed.
At this point, the neighbor burned ‘er out of his driveway and started coming towards us. Surely he could see the giant prancing bird in front of my stalled vehicle. The guy rarely breaks 20 on the country roads, yet he was hell-bent for somewhere this morning. He glared at the offending bird as he buzzed past.
The offending bird, as disbelieving as me, turned his retaliation on my van. He threw out his gigantic wings in a curved dome the size of my trampoline, dropped his head to the pavement, and began his threatening strut directly towards me.
Honestly I was considering rolling up my windows.
The rest of the fam had found their way through the hedge and into the fallow field, but this guy was not to be deterred. I let my foot off the brake and rolled towards him, hoping he might give up his valiant and misdirected protection scheme, but he only marched in the wrong direction, trying to lure me away from his offspring.
So now I’m between them.
Still he maintained his illusion of macho and grand proportions, threatening me from behind the shrubbery. It was almost comical. I continued to sneak past, determined that I would not be the one who killed the baby crane that only wanted to get to his beloved PaPa, and the guardian bird finally launched into flight to join his safe and sound wife and child.
It was sketchy for a few minutes there, but I’m OK.
Dang, I love Wisconsin,