Flamingos are often seen in front yards as plastic yard ornaments, or double as stir sticks in fancy lounge drinks.

They appear on women’s T shirts, art posters, golf shirts and pendants.

They make cute water floats in baby swimming pools

This evening, the Albuquerque zoo hosts a music concert. Surrounding the stage, families have spread umbrellas, blankets, folding chairs and wait for Ryan McGarvey, a local boy made good, to sing and play his electric guitar. Newspaper ads say he has played with the British rock and blues legend Eric Clapton. Julie and Nathan and I have driven down to hear the music even though the weather is rainy. Julie is Chris’s sister and she and Nathan recently moved here from California to escape the San Andreas fault becoming a bigger fault.

Flamingos can’t be charged with not sticking their necks out.

In the Albuquerque winter, they are all issued pink earmuffs and huddle together by outdoor gas heaters.

Tonight’s concert will sound, to them, like the bellowing of hippos and their graceful necks will move to the music like a conductor’s baton.

They could fly home if they hadn’t forgotten they can fly.

















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