More Words: This is an essential book. It is very good. I meant to read Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds, but I'm glad I spent time reading this first. My copy is full of flags to mark passages or phrases I want to remember. Honestly, my first reaction when I pick up a book that uses the word 'wild' or 'wilderness' abundantly is to put it right back down again. Fast. Not because I don't care that our planet is dying... it's such a serious topic and I'm usually reading to escape responsibility. It's hard to be reminded that there is so much more I could be doing when I can barely keep my children alive. Well I read this book and in the beginning and sometimes in the middle I rolled my eyes because Haupt is such a hippie throwback, but I have to respect her because she's not afraid of me or anyone. She's smart, thoughtful, compassionate, and doing her very best. This is a good book, and it's full of references to other great books.
We are being called upon to act against a prevailing culture, to undermine
our own entrenched tendency to accumulate and to consume, and to refuse to
define our individuality by our presumed ability to do whatever we want.
There is, then, roughly one crow per family. I like to think about this
when I set the table for dinner; I imagine a dark visitor, our allotted crow,
perching on the back of a chair with one of our best china plates in front of
it, waiting for spaghetti. p 27
There will be no embalming of hearts today, thank you very much. "I have
lost the idealism of my twenties, as I feared I would," wrote Annie Dillard.
Yes, but there is more to it than that. I realize that in giving birth, managing
a household, raising a child, and composting potato peels in a city, I have
learned some things about wilderness that even Thoreau could not have known.
To think that it somehow shows greater intellectual discernment to stuff
compassion away for the sake of scientific distance is an error, one that does
not sufficiently allow the range of the human animal's complexity. We can think
and feel compassion at the same time. p135
It is difficult to say sense of wonder in this millennial moment,
when sleek, cynical, pop-nihilistic writing seems to be a sign of intellectual
rigor and rightness. p156
We practice wonder by resisting the temptation to hurry past things worth
seeing, but it can take work to transcend our preconceived standards for what
that worth might be. p157
But in the places that humans and animals intersect most frequently - urban
and suburban neighborhoods where people do lots of driving - we are afforded an
uncommonly regular view of the wild's most compulsory, most intimate moment.
...crows are so entirely relevant to our place on a changing earth, to
"reimagining a different future." They bring us into direct contact with the
utterly essential, with what we prefer to avoid, with what the corporate-driven
individual consumerism that runs more rampant now than ever in history contrive
to hide, with the lesson we most dearly need to comprehend: that we are all
nearly dead. That in light of that fact, just perhaps, our relentless, frenzied,
earth-killing, over-outfitting of our temporal bodies and homes is the tiniest
tad misguided. What was this body again? Oh yes, that heap of blue flesh lying
on the soil, being picked at by the crows. p202
I see them, and think that if I were a bird, I would want to fly like a
crow - with enough of a brain to love it. p207
It was 1949 when Aldo Leopold wrote, "In our attempt to make conservation
easy, we have made it trivial." He had no idea.
Most people don't realize that a wing - in spite of the radius, ulna, and
humerus - is not like an arm. It's more like a heart.
I hadn't seen Charlotte for nearly a week and was beginning to be
concerned. Finding her again, I smile. Charlotte might be thin and slumped, but
she managed to learn to fly on one leg - no mean accomplishment. I wonder, what
does it mean to have no hope when there is a radiant, earth-loving child singing
in the bathroom and a broken-legged bird that has learned to fly in your tree?
Still, it seems that the best prospect for a flourishing, ecologically vibrant,
evolutionarily rich earth would be a massive, brutal overturning of the human
population followed by several millennia of planetary recovery. Surely this
doesn't count as hope. But here we are, intricate human animals capable of
feeling despair over the state of the earth and, simultaneously, joy in its
unfolding wildness, no matter how hampered. what are we to do with such a
confounding vision? The choices appear to be few. We can deny it, ignore it, go
insane with its weight, structure it into a stony ethos with which we beat our
friends and ourselves to death - or we can live well in its light. p215
In the monastery library, I find this definition: hope is "that virtue by
which we take responsibility for the future."
Install a bat box beneath the eaves of my home, when I own a sfr
Learn about my neighbourhood trees
Invest in a field guide for the trees (first)
Begin drawing again
Spend more time outside doing nothing
Write a thank you letter to Adam Lindsay
Wilderness Bibles and Other Books Gleaned from the Bibliography:
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
Living with Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest by Russell Link
Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson
The Essays of Henry David Thoreau
Origins: A short etymological dictionary of Modern English
Finding Order in Nature: The Naturalist Tradition from Linnaeus to E.O. Wilson by Paul Farber
Benedict's Rule: A Translation and Commentary by Terrance Kardong