Sunday, December 12, 2010

What's New? New Category - Birds

I don't know why I had not added "birds" as a category to the wide-range of topics I write about (or at least mention) on my blog.  Writing about my recent uplifting experience seeing what was most likely a very late migrating ruby-crowned kinglet at my farm this week (and my on-line community of birding friends in SE Michigan concur with my best guess), I have now gone back to find previous times I have written about birds, and 10 past posts are now ear-marked 'birds'. So if you are interested in my observations and rambles about this topic, you may click on the 'birds' category on the left side of my blog to read what I have previously written.

I have been a 'birder' since age 10. It is difficult to actually recollect what inspired me, but whatever it was 'hooked me' with a life-long hobby and enjoyment, with the emphasis on 'joy', wherever I have lived or traveled. My first birding guide is the classic Field Guide to Eastern Birds by Roger Tory Peterson, a 1960 edition. I have numerous other ones also, and once when friends were discussing "the latest best-seller book", they finally realized I was not participating in the discussion and asked what I was reading. They did not know quite what to say when I answered "I read field guides". :-)

I know that I am the person Aldo Leopold wrote about in the first sentence of the foreword to his  book A Sand County Almanac where he said,

"There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot." 

I cannot. Yet birds were just my entry point into learning about, appreciating, and caring for a much larger world, indeed a 'system' where everything is connected. In addition and perhaps more importantly, the other sentence in the foreword that has been my inspiration, indeed one of my life's touchstones, is

"When we see land as a community to which we belong, 
then we may begin to use it with love and respect."

By starting our farm, rehabilitating our land, both producing delicious food and providing a refuge for this tardy (or hardy!?) kinglet, we hope to contribute to both the joy and the health of our community. Everything about this process is life-giving. Yes, we have set backs and days of discouragement (like being told this week that we have two collapsing foundations - arghhhh!), but they are minor blips in the big system. We are not retreating to this farm to create a private sanctuary for ourselves. Instead, we are intentionally changing our little corner of the planet, with not just hopes, but a belief that we are one building block in a new system.

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
~~ Buckminster Fuller 

My husband is at the farm today, plowing us out from our first snowstorm, and I am at our home doing snow-blowing and shoveling duty here. Our old dog Kaya is still with us. She can hardly walk, but she is still enjoying eating the snow and having a snowy nose.

(Photo: Kaya, our snow eater!)

 (Photo: Kaya with her snowy nose and back)

As I said in a previous post, my kinglet's visit was my tonic to get me through the cold snowy winter.  I really do hope it found enough sustenance at our farm to have the energy (and good sense!) to now be at least two days farther south. 

"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"

Diana Dyer, MS, RD 

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