Another Christmas Journey

And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod,
they returned to their country by another route.
Matthew 2: 12

Unlike the Magi, we didn’t get our warning in a dream: Ours came in a TV broadcast by a weather forecaster.

Snow! Freezing rain! Along the northern route to Phoenix!

But the general outcome was the same: We returned to our (other) country by another route.

Abandoning the Cleveland – St. Louis – Oklahoma City – Albuquerque route as a Bad Idea, we headed south from Cleveland as directly as we could before heading west, heeding other dire warnings.

Thunderstorms! Tornadoes! Along the southern route!

Yikes. It was like Ghostbusters: Choose and (try not to) perish. Or, maybe, like The Lady or The Tiger: Once we’d made our choice, we were all in. Reacting to the darkening skies, our GPS kept switching into night mode even though it was mid-morning.

But it was a “no harm, no foul” situation: We stayed on the road, metaphorically and literally. And although this change added about 400 km of road to our drive, nothing is all good or all bad: This new route also brought us within range of Whitewater Draw in the southeast bit of Arizona and its, ahem, numerous sandhill cranes.

4-phot collage of flocks of sandhill cranes in the air

They’re spectacular en masse, but also one by (comparatively) one.

2-photo collage on snadhill craneson the ground


2-photo collage of sandhill cranesAnd they’re just as spectacular in the air as they are on the ground.

4-photo collage of sandhill cranes in the airBut like any nature sanctuary, there’s more going on than just the signature critter. We also saw meadowlarks (a first for me) perched on some dead branches and a fence rail, a juvenile northern harrier hunting low over the scrub bush, and a black-throated sparrow enjoying the convenience of a bird feeder.

3-photo collage of meadowlarks3-photo collag eof juvenile northern harrier2-photo collage of black-throated sparrowThe Gospel writers don’t mention what birds the Magi saw. An odd omission, it seems to me.


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14 Responses to Another Christmas Journey

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  3. John Whitman says:

    Isabel – it seems that no matter where you go in life, Mother Nature can always make it interesting!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      John – Yes, she can. As some wag said, “Forget man’s inhumanity to man. The dagnabbed planet is trying to kill us!” (I paraphrase.)

      • John Whitman says:

        One of the early astronauts also said much the same thing about space trying to kill you. That was after likening an Apollo space capsule to a metal thermos bottle travelling through a frigid vacuum. He still went though..

  4. barbara says:

    Let us know you got there OK!!

  5. Jim Taylor says:

    The subtitle on the email announcing this item said, “it’s good to be back in the desert.” My mind immediately went to the pop song of oh-my-god-how-many-years-ago,
    “I went through the desert on a horse with no name
    It was good to get out of the rain,
    In the desert you can remember your name
    ’cause there ain’t nobody for to give you no pain….”

    Glad you escaped the pain of tornadoes, thunderstorms, and other perils.
    Jim T

  6. Tom Watson says:

    What I find interesting is that no matter where you go you find beautiful vistas—displayed so wonderfully in your photos—and someone else might see nothing of importance at all. So are you traveling by the same road? Nope. You go by “a different road.”

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – My theory is that we see more when we carry a camera. It would be interesting to know whether the use of phones with cameras will make us more observant and appreciative.

  7. Tom Watson says:

    Interesting observation, Isabel.

    During the 1970s, Janice and I and our girls pulled a 28 foot trailer and went to many places in the summer. Lorinne, one daughter, rode in the back seat and read a book most of the time. Truth is she hardly “took the trip” as she never saw anything.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – I believe we four kids were required to look out the window on our extended road trips. (Quietly.) (A different time. :-)) I remember my mother exclaiming about some scenery — mountains I think — and a 12-year-old (or so) me wondering what was the big deal. I don’t suppose she ever explained. I know for sure *I* didn’t put any effort into teaching my own children how to see and how to appreciate. They either got it on their own or they didn’t.

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