It was the middle of the night. I was dreaming; I thought the sounds were part of the scene. My first impression was that a puppy was in trouble: high-pitched whines coming from somewhere. I came to. The sound was sounds. The house was surrounded. Circling sounds.
I looked out the living room window. Four or five coyotes were romping around. Then they were on my side porch then the back yard. Around and around they ran. A much larger shadow loomed, spilling from the forsythia bushes. The mother. Eventually the kits gathered around her, and she cuffed them and licked them then settled onto her side and the kits suckled.
The afternoon before, I had stopped on the River Road and watched four immature bald eagles. They were perched like heavy ornaments in a small tree, the branches sagging. Eagles don’t waste energy. They spend their lives perching mostly, taking breaks to fish or soar. The river was alive with activity: herons, egrets, pelicans, vultures, falcons, hawks—the opposites of eagles—hunting, fishing, feeding the children, seemingly never resting.
Like eagles, we mostly rest. Unlike eagles or any other living thing on the planet, we control it all. Religions believe that mankind is God’s miracle. The Old Testament scribes who wrote that, as philosophy and law, were narcissists, self-interested, fatally flawed in scientific reasoning, utterly devoid of introspection about the teeming life around them.
It took 4,000,000,000 years of evolution to create the earthly paradise our ancestors saw, a mere 500,000 years for us to rape and render it poisonous.
The United Nation’s latest Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem report: “Earth is losing plants, animals and clean water at a dramatic rate… Scientists meeting in Columbia issued four regional reports on how well animals and plants are doing in the Americas; Europe and Central Asia; Africa; and the Asian-Pacific area.” Conclusion after a three-year study: “Nowhere on Earth is doing well.”
Translation: Our grandchildren are facing catastrophe.
Not only is it absurd to sell off national park lands in the name of greed, the lands we have are not remotely enough—unless half the planet’s humans die off in a cataclysmic event. Unless our children, our grandchildren die off in a cataclysmic event. There is a lottery far more skewed than are the state lotteries of today.
The millions of kids marching yesterday—so inspiring. But far greater marches, on behalf of the Future, are called for. The truth must be spoken in classrooms around the world. We must act—we should have acted.
The sound was sounds. Circling sounds. I am so grateful to have heard them:
Sounds that might not be heard fifty years from now: herons, egrets, pelicans, vultures, falcons, hawks—the opposites of eagles—hunting, fishing, feeding their children, seemingly never resting. My loved ones, Bekira, Taliana, Amanda and all children of earth: I want them to hear sacred sounds.
Eugene Jones Baldwin is at Joe K.’s Restaurant, eating lunch.