Collection: Sanctuary, 1991

A friend of mind in Kula raises pheasants and releases them into the higher elevations of Haleakala. Every year he gets pheasant chicks from the mainland to replenish the pheasant population on the mountain.

I went with him one morning when his birds were mature enough for release. We took four or five cages loaded with birds up the road, set the cages out in the pasture, opened the cage lid and backed away. They had never been able to fly higher than the seven foot cage in which they'd been raised. They hesitated, then burst into the sky. We watched as they fluttered into the distance.

I thought about this exultant release into freedom. It was tempered by their possible fate with upland game bird hunters, i.e. pheasant under glass.

Years later, while hiking through the state park, I came across a pheasant just inside the park border. I wondered if he'd found a sanctuary.

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