Friday, June 19, 2015

For the love of...

Late yesterday afternoon I was on my way to a meeting when I noticed a painted turtle starting to cross County Road 36 near the Carlos Avery pools. At least I thought the turtle was a female crossing the road to lay eggs and not simply absorbing the warmth from the road. There was no traffic in sight in either direction as a slowed, stopped, backed up, parked, climbed out and walked towards the turtle, intending to convey her across the road before traffic arrived and she got squished. Well, did I ever get a surprise. As I bent over to pick her up, she scooted, as much as any turtle might be able to scoot, away from me. I found myself herding a turtle across the highway to keep her from getting hurt or worse. She was having absolutely none of this "picked up and carried" stuff, thank you very much! On the other hand, if she was a he just enjoying the late day warmth, I messed up his nap but nevertheless probably kept him from getting squished.

Canada goose and goslings, June 2014
Canada goose and goslings, June 2014
Photo by J. Harrington

As I resumed my trip, I noticed just down the road apiece several families of Canada geese resting on the shoulder. This year's goslings looked bigger than the ones in the picture from about this time last year. I don't know if this year all the local geese got an earlier start or the difference is simply due to differences in the egg-laying timing of family pairs. I hope the kids, and their parents, learn to not play in traffic. Last year I noticed a few lost to collisions with cars or pickups.

Writing in the guardian a few days ago, George Monbiot had an interesting piece on the Pope's new encyclical, noting that "Pope Francis reminds us that our relationship to the natural world is about love, not just goods and service." That's close to a gifts from the earth and reciprocity relationship Robin Wall Kimmerer and other Native Americans describe. I keep hoping we're moving in that direction as fast as we need to and fearing that we're trying to drag too much baggage with us. Time will tell, one way or another. I didn't stop to help a turtle because of goods and service, I'm sure of that.

Joy in the Woods

By Claude McKay 
There is joy in the woods just now,
       The leaves are whispers of song,
And the birds make mirth on the bough
       And music the whole day long,
And God! to dwell in the town
       In these springlike summer days,
On my brow an unfading frown
       And hate in my heart always—

A machine out of gear, aye, tired,
Yet forced to go on—for I’m hired.

Just forced to go on through fear,
       For every day I must eat
And find ugly clothes to wear,
       And bad shoes to hurt my feet
And a shelter for work-drugged sleep!
       A mere drudge! but what can one do?
A man that’s a man cannot weep!
       Suicide? A quitter? Oh, no!

But a slave should never grow tired,
Whom the masters have kindly hired.

But oh! for the woods, the flowers
       Of natural, sweet perfume,
The heartening, summer showers
       And the smiling shrubs in bloom,
Dust-free, dew-tinted at morn,
       The fresh and life-giving air,
The billowing waves of corn
       And the birds’ notes rich and clear:—

For a man-machine toil-tired
May crave beauty too—though he’s hired.

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Please be kind to each other while you can.