I was a student on the first Earth Day. It was a movement born in part as a response to Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring. Carson noticed a reduction of birdsong in the springtime. Pesticide use provided a direct threat to birds and many other species and we needed to act immediately to halt the threat. It resonated with me to my core and I have lived my life consciously trying to care for Mother Earth. I tried to live small, buy sustainable or used products or do without.
North Carolina is killing me.
Single use plastic bags and styrofoam everywhere. No recycling. Everything goes to the landfill. The local walking path along a small river has foul-smelling industrial waste pouring directly into it. I have to hold my breath as I pass.
I have come to believe humans are an infection and Mother Earth is running a fever in hopes of killing the infection. (Yes, she sometimes has chills accompanying her fever, just like us.) Hopefully, enough of us can choose to live as white blood cells rather than viruses and give her the added immunity boost she needs to survive.
This shouldn’t be political. Whether you believe this is God’s creation or a happy accident, Earth is a gift that should be cherished, appreciated and protected. If you have children or grandchildren, or no children at all, why wouldn’t you want to leave the planet a better place for the future?
We live in a valley surrounded by treed hillsides. Each morning, an hour before sunrise, the birds awaken and fill the air with a cacophony of sound. It is incredibly loud and varied and I find myself transported by it. As I lay in bed I try to focus on the different types of birds I hear.
The ones nearest to the house are easy to identify: robins, cardinals, finches, mockingbirds. Farther away, the songs combine and an occasional voice rises above the din, often a dove or crow. In the distant woods, the songs become a constant chatter that provides the background chorus for each morning’s concert. It is a loud, fast, chittering sound that is absolutely joyous.
As the sun’s rays begin to emerge, the birdsong changes. The cawing of the crows grows more pronounced, an occasional rooster crows (sleepyhead!), the woodpeckers begin to hammer their messages into the trees and onto the nearby metal poles. The background singers begin to fade until all that remains is predominantly robin and cardinal voices and finally, the transition to manmade sounds.
I treasure this concert and eagerly await the opening strains each morning. This is one of Mother Earth’s many gifts to every single one of us. It is priceless, yet free to anyone who will take the time to receive it. Our gift in return, is to ensure it continues for generations to come.
Listen for yourself here: Birdsong Audio