>Amanda Sandos, a current IMA student, is studying environment art through visual arts and creative writing to explore the deep ecology connections between animals and humans. A staff writer for Got2BeGreen, and a volunteer at the Maier Museum of Art, Amanda is a former zoo keeper with extensive experience with both animals and art. Check out her blog about life on this wild planet.
Chilean Flamingo, Lake Natron, Northern Tanzania
I stand at the edge of a flock, on the shore of this parched bowl, the base of a volcano. Ten thousand birds flag their heads from side to side, necks stretched, marching in rows.
The quills on their backs click like beads when Masai women walk, barely heard over the honking chaos. Every year when the rains come, the lake rises from cracked earth,
they wade through bubbles, mixing blue-green algae and brine shrimp. If the earth is quenched they build, scooping and stamping, stamping and scooping, clapping
their feet, molding mounds, growing thinner, feathers frayed, caked, matted. She’ll perch at the top of her turret and sing – soft, lyrical – stretching towards any who walk past,
The one who will share their roost, turn their chalky egg, tend their chick, preen and feed, protect until these waters recede.
This year, they waited for the sky to open, but no rains came. Tonight, as the sun sinks, they lift their wings and fly, without ritual, without young.