Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hank makes a return visit

Mimicking the birds we love, Hank Lentfer flew down from Alaska and spent a few days at Kingbird this past week. It was a return trip; Hank was here in 2005 to better understand where cranes go and what challenges they face on their wintering range. That experience, and much more, formed the raw material for a very remarkable new book, The Faith of Cranes. Hank was here to keynote the annual Lodi Crane Festival and for book-signings at a couple of local shops.

The Faith of Cranes made me laugh and cry. It's been a while since a book has touched and challenged me so profoundly. Buy it. Read it. Gift it.

Alaskan cuisine has, per Frank, a profound seasonality, as in a riot of choice in the summer and venison and potatoes from October to May. It was fun walking the orchard with Hank and sampling the late-season offerings. We laughed at the contrast - I'm dancing with the risk of a hard frost and hoping to protect my citrus, while his Gustavus, Alaska landscape is in a deep freeze. The birds know where it's at.

Hank was a persimmon virgin, but we fixed that and I enjoyed watching him bite into a crisp fuyu and inhale a gooey, sweet hachiya. Carry-on baggage was a small sampling each of apples, asian pears, persimmons, quince, and pomegranates, which he promised to share with Anya and Linnea. Let's hope they got their fair share. A few transitory Kingbird molecules in Alaskan bodies. Read the book.

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