Monday, August 27, 2007


Recently I had the privilege of observing a pair of redbirds tending their young. They’re very secretive, and I'd noticed the male returning to a secluded area several times, so I settled in quietly to watch them from a distance with my binoculars.

Soon after, a scuffle ensued as the parents joined forces to defend their territory from another male redbird and he was soon banished. While I watched, the mother remained close by as the male went back and forth bringing food – approaching from a different direction each time holding a bright green grub. He would slowly work his way toward the nest – zigzagging from branch to branch - cautiously checking every direction for predators. Once satisfied it was safe, he would dart into the nest to feed the young. I could just make out two tiny birds as he appeared to break the grub into pieces to feed half of it to each. They were so helpless at this point, but with a bit of luck and continued vigilance from the adults, they would thrive and soon be able to care for themselves. They are lucky. They will know their story and all they need to survive.

I am a child of the 50’s raised in an industrialized, predominantly Christian country. Surrounded mostly by adults with no particular affinity to nature, a religion that preached dominion over it, and a school curriculum that all but ignored it - my innate sense of wonder and place in the natural world was too easily expelled. The things that replaced it proved poor substitutes.

The authors Daniel Quinn and Derrick Jensen gave it back to me. They opened a door for me to begin regaining my story, stolen in childhood, and I am forever grateful. The life thrust upon me by the modern world had taken me further and further from it, but an unrealized longing and sadness always remained. Brief moments of recognition were there along the way, but the layers of separation would take a long time to shed. I am closer today than yesterday and hopeful for tomorrow.

What do you do to experience harmony with the natural world?


howws said...

Wow, the Quinn and Jensen combo did it for you too huh?! Check it out:

The Challenges of Accepting Civilization as Unsustainable and Unhealthy

albee (AKA Dawn Tripp) said...

You know, I spent my childhood in Wisconsin and I love birds. They were the "thing" that my dad and I shared. But I'd never heard a cardinal called a redbird until I married my husband, a Southern boy. It was so great to find out that he loves birds too, because so many people just aren't tuned into them... as things of wonder and beauty anyway!