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

Flamingos 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 Ryan has played with the British rock and blues legend Eric Clapton.

Julie and Nathan and I have driven down to hear the music. Julie and Nathan moved to Albuquerque to escape California before the San Andreas fault becomes a bigger fault. Driving hours to get to work and back home, if you are lucky, wears on people.

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

In the Albuquerque winter, they are 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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