Where I sit to tap out my blog each week is right by my office window. It's not unusual to see a half dozen or so birds hanging on my garden bird feeders, on the other side of the glass, 3 feet from my desk. It's easy to find inspiration related to bird feeder socks and thistle seed, you know the stuff we talk about on this website, while observing life happening directly in my line of vision. Usually it's easy. The problem is life has shifted since my last blog, in a dramatic way.
Today when I look out my window instead of funny stories about bird watchers or feeding birds, when I look at the wild bird seed free-for-all so typical outside my window all I can think of is how atypical life is for Japan's wildlife right now. We rightfully focus on the human toll at times like this but when the dust settles the bigger picture always emerges and we are reminded one more time that we do not just 'enjoy' or 'respect' nature, we ARE nature. What happens to any living thing on this planet affects every living thing. It's humbling and comforting at once. In the midst of tragedy and trauma we witness, again and again, examples of resilience in nature that miraculously show us the way forward.
When I'm writing, I often run terms through a thesaurus to get a clearer understanding of their connotation. Other words for 'resilience,' it turns out, are gutsiness, grit, toughness, endurance...heart. I read an article today about 'Wisdom,' an over-60-year old Laysan albatross who survived this month's planet-altering earthquake and tsunami. Said Barry Stieglitz,a project leader for the Fish and Wildlife Service:
Indeed. And maybe she's also a gutsy old broad with a lot of heart. Maybe she's here to encourage our own resilience and remind us of our interdependence on each other for all our survival. Like the Big Lebowski, this 'dude'-ette, just abides. Whatever, Wisdom's incidental challenge to us is to live, despite the odds. She made my day, lifted my spirit and urged me to call the Red Cross...then get back to my finch feeder stories. Life, Wisdom shows us, keeps moving forward; and unless we leave her to be the only gutsy dame surviving, we have to abide.
Photo credit: John Klavitter, USFWS