“It’s the land, it is our wisdom
It’s the land, it shines us through
It’s the land, it feeds our children
It’s the land, you cannot own the land, the land owns you”

— Dougie MacCean, “Solid Ground”

*     *     *

Spring! They return, the sandhill cranes,
to the fenny fields behind our house
and I have to resist the temptation
to say our cranes, or even our fields.

I imagine their ancestors arriving
on a day like today, with patchy snow
and the sweet gurgle of running water
in the little stream – not our stream

that has snaked across the marshlands
to the big, cold lake since long before
we moved here and fallowed the old
played out potato fields, even before

the Anishinaabe-Ojibwe peoples
came here to fish and gather wild rice.
I imagine that first breeding pair
gliding over a young post-glacial world

of gravel and swamp and new woodlands,
settling on this very field to take their place
among the crows and fox and deer mice,
first link of a long chain , the way one day

leads to the next, the way we, too,
have come to be a part of this world,
to hatch our young and watch them
spread their wings and fly away, and wonder.


About Ray Sharp

Father, poet, triathlete, local public health planner
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