“If we allow ourselves to believe that nature, to be true, must also be wild, then our very presence in nature represents its fall. The place where we are is a place where nature is not… We thereby leave ourselves little hope of discovering what an ethical, sustainable, honorable human place in nature might actually look like.” – William Cronon- (from Uncommon Ground, Towards Reinventing Nature)
At Carrot Ranch this week the July 23 prompt has been (the week is almost past!) to “write a story to show what it is to protect nature around us”. This shouldn’t have been such a tough prompt, but here I am, past the deadline and with no real story. Then a rare visit from common birds as I sat out on my deck prompted these 99 words:
Privileged, D. Avery
They swept through like a squall, igniting the canopy, alighting on branches that swayed and bent under their weight, climbed tree trunks like woodpeckers. The actual woodpeckers stopped their work and watched, astounded at this swarm of grackles. The surprised robin watched their feeding frenzy from an uppermost perch of a slender maple before flying off. I bore witness. What appears as pillage must surely be feeding on insects invisible to my eye.
Some people say grackles are useless. Others tell me these trees block the view.
I don’t listen. I know a good thing when I see it.
I had already been reminded of an earlier prompt and a fictional story I’d written, Neighbors, when the bird world in front of me erupted with the arrival of the grackles. I was glad to be present for something that was not at all extraordinary for its naturalness; not extraordinary, though I’ve never before seen so many grackles in my bit of yard, have never seen them feeding in the treetops as they did. It was extraordinary enough to stoke my sense of wonder, as Rachel Carson would say. If you want to serve nature, maintain and spread a sense of wonder and respect for all your neighbors, fauna and flora. See it and celebrate it wherever you might be.