An Oasis  

Zaphed905 54M
16 posts
11/29/2005 4:04 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

An Oasis

I have been asked why on earth would I do a stupid thing like hopping around in the snow, in my boxer shorts, to fill up the bird feeder. Not to mention wasting three bucks worth of millet on a bunch of feathery rats that ought to be able to fend for themselves.

It’s not just to keep the cats’ home entertainment center going. (The kestrels seem pretty entertained by it, too.) I suppose that I just like to try to keep a little circle of life around the hacienda. In the summer time I also keep the ground around the house green, though that’s mostly for fire protection. I’ve planted dozens of trees and shrubs that are starting to grow, finally, and will eventually make a nice wind-break and critter habitat.

In case you haven’t noticed, this was a famine year. Thanks to modern farming and distribution networks, the vast majority of people are so well-buffered from environmental fluctuations that they have no idea what is going on in the natural world. (And that goes double for the envirobabble crowd, who try to impose their own arrogant mysticism onto nature.) If we were still hunters & gatherers, a lot of people would have died this year. But most of us didn’t even notice.

In my area, we’ve had a year of hard drought, and last February there was a warm & freeze episode that killed off a lot of buds. This year, the orchards produced very little fruit, hereabouts. The pines produced no cones or seeds. The oaks produced no acorns. Even the bees couldn’t find anything to eat ‒ for the first time ever, the hives produced no honey, but had to be fed all year. My yard was full of wild critters looking for water and food, day and night. Inevitably, there is a cycle of death going on for critters that feed on fruits, seeds and pollen. Other critters are probably filling the void to some extent. For some reason, there was an explosion in the vole population (the damned things killed a lot of my trees!) and consequently the predators seem to be fat and happy. So, anyone who was really attuned to nature would have stopped eating fruits and vegetables this year, and snacked on field mice instead. Yeah! Rat-Atkins!

So anyway, it just pleases me to keep a little zone of relative Plenty around the house. I think this is a common human desire. (Of course if we ever got hungry, it would be really handy to have those turkeys nesting under the bushes in the yard.) Perhaps it’s related to the mid-winter feasting that many of us are practicing at this time of year. These feasts seem to be a common theme in many cultures. They’re little celebrations of life in the midst of winter-time poverty. I have read ‒ but not confirmed - that the Christian death-cults invented “Christmas” during the colonization of the Americas, in an attempt to suppress the mid-winter feasts. (Dude! Sorry man, I can’t make it to your party. Gotta spend the week in church or they’ll put me in the stocks and stone me. Bummer!) It seems that people were spending too much of their own hard-earned wealth on each other, when they were supposed to be turning everything over to the church and the other overlords. In the end though, the festive spirit seems to have prevailed. It gives me something to think about when some sanctimonious parasite tries to lecture me about “the true meaning of Christmas.” Not that I think the modern consumerism frenzy is any real improvement. Going into debt for a toy is still turning over your wealth to someone else.

Yes, I am ordering a few small things from catalogs to give as Christmas presents. Some books, some DVDs, some calendars of the appropriate gender (wink, wink.) Mostly, I plan to take some time to visit with friends and family. I’m making a few things to give as presents. A starter science lab for my neice. Plates of cookies for casual friends. Maybe some planters of perennial herbs. Maybe a bird feeder or two...

You know… wealth.

rm_KF_TwoFer 56M/48F

11/30/2005 10:33 am

We do the same ritual here in Klamath Falls. We've had a foot of snow now and the poor birds (especially quail) are desperate for food. We have a bird feeder but for the quail I toss a long strip of seeds along our drive way up to twice a day. The quail particularly seem to lose a lot of weight fast and it's sad to watch them do their usual neighboorhood run/hop without anything to eat. I like to think of myself as a good "citizen of the Earth" and coudlnt possibily eat a holiday meal knowing the birds are hungry.

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