Flight 21


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The morning was going to be a fantastic one, and I knew it well before dawn. There wasn’t anything specific that told me this, but rather, a hunch. I was standing there beside a pond with thousands of slumbering birds waiting for the sun to finally come up, and somehow I knew that the sunrise I had been waiting for would be mine indeed.

The place was the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, and it was wintertime. Naturally, I picked one the coldest days of the year to stand still in the predawn hours, yet that couldn’t be helped. One had to shiver a bit now and then, all for making that one incredible photograph.

The first streaks of light racing across the previously featureless sky confirmed my suspicions, for they were red. Not just any old shade of red, but red as fire. The sun was still below the horizon when the sky exploded in color. Right on cue the snow geese rose up and took to the skies.

Flight 21, so named because there are twenty one birds, was one of the first to pierce the sky. They arched across the top, a vanguard of the thousands more who followed that glorious morning.

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