Friday, March 18, 2005

Hope Is the Thing With Feathers

Our household (Clog-wife, Corgi, Cats, then me) awakens with the birds every morning. I am gladdened each day as these birds sing from the fields and woods surrounding our home. May they always find a healthy mosaic of farm, forest and swampland in all their Summer and Winter haunts.

For our many migratory birds, whose “homelands” span continents or even oceans, Preservation means leaving things pretty much as they are. Preservation does not mean saving something beneath a bell jar, or in a museum or herbarium drawer, or, in the case of a sizable landscape, turning it toward a radically different use or into something else entirely.

As I have learned more about the diversity of birds, I have come to appreciate them all the more, as a metaphor for my own comings and goings on this earthly landscape.

To steal a phrase from Emily Dickinson: “Hope is the thing with feathers”.

I encourage everyone to read Christopher Cokinos’ very fine book of the same title, in which one may read a lyrical and moving discussion of vanishing/vanished American bird species.

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