Still sitting on the dock, watching a small kayak quietly slip across the water, I think back to dinner the other night with the former owners of the small 3 cabin resort where we stay every year. They are humble advocates of nature and the conservation of our natural resources. I remember being startled when Jim asked me what the solution to the Colorado Blue Spruce was. He pointed out that this gorgeous evergreen tree is not native to Northern Michigan, yet is a very popular ornamental tree frequently planted throughout the area. Should we cut them all down? I quickly responded with “it’s not going to happen”. And we talked about what harm is done with our rearrangement of the natural world.
So as I watch a small turtle raise its nose above the water, I reflect more this morning about the state of things. Is there hope that we can fix what we’ve done? Is it too late? On the one hand it seems totally overwhelming. How to increase the awareness and understanding of these things? At this point in my new found passion, I realize I don’t know what I don’t know. And maybe that’s where most of us are in regards to the natural world. Fortunately, we can and do learn. At one time we thought that DDT was an important chemical to use in pest control. Then we found it was dangerous and killing things we didn’t want killed, like the Bald Eagle. Thank God Rachael Carson brought this to our attention in her book, Silent Spring. Now we don’t use DDT anymore.
My family of four loons has disappeared from sight. But shortly, I hear an unfamiliar sound above me. The wing beats of the loon are not usual sounds I hear. The three other members of his group join up and wing off to better hunting. As they disappear behind the nearby small island, their distinctive warbling cry reaches to my gut and warms my spirit.
I look up and the eagle that I’ve only seen from afar several days ago, gracefully glides toward the water in front of me. As he tilts slightly, the early morning rays of the sun strike his white head and tail. He quickly extends his talons into the water. Immediately rising without the prey he was after, a few powerful flaps of the large wings takes him to another part of the lake to search for another fish. This majestic bird is here today in spite of the mistakes we made. We realized our error and took action. We learned.
Perhaps we have gone too far and the damage we’ve done is too great. But the eagle gives me hope. The small patch of Tall Bellflower in our yard back home is alive with creatures, adding to our environment rather than taking away. We can learn and we can take action, even if only one yard at a time.