Friday, May 10, 2013

Love of place

photo of kingbird fledglings over front door
© harrington
Hi! Thanks for visiting. The birds you see are young (fledgling) kingbirds. A nest like this has been over the front door almost every year that we've lived here. Obviously, the nest is attached to the house. What other attachments are involved? I choose to believe that the previous year's offspring return to the site, instead of thinking that the location is so attractive that random kingbirds decide to nest here every year. I've removed the old (unoccupied) nest a couple of times. It gets rebuilt next season. Does that mean this strain of kingbirds is attached to this place? We know that many animals have a home range that meets their needs for food, water, bedding areas and breeding opportunities. Kingbirds are migratory. Do migratory birds have a home range? What makes a home range for humans? Do we have one? Did we ever? Many Native Americans made seasonal circuits from summer ranges to winter ranges. I've been reading that Native Americans were/are attached to places their ancestors were/are buried. I've lived more than 40 years far from where any of my ancestors are buried. I feel many attachments to New England, and remember visiting my grandparent's graves when I was younger. Is convenience part of attachment? We Americans are a restless breed. We move with an unsettling frequency and, all too often, we relocate over distances that sever ties to our ancestors and places we grew up, places full of our memories. I watched a video of a walkability workshop in a St. Paul neighborhood. Dr. Katherine Loflin emphasizes that building on assets, no matter how small, strengthens a place and, presumably, residents' attachment to it. I like that approach. It fits with the idea Steve Mouzon points out in Original Green, that, to be sustainable, a place or a building must be lovable. I think we could gain a lot if we all tried to make the world we live in more lovable. What do you think? Thanks for listening. Come again when you can. Rants, raves and reflections served daily in My Minnesota.