Life and Loss in Winter
Many of the news stories over the last week have been of celebrities dying. It adds to the sense of the whole year being one of crises, unexpected developments, and disasters. I also had news of a family death on Boxing Day. At a time when many people are spending time with family and friends such losses have added poignancy. Individuals may be missed, but does the momentum of culture just continue unaffected? Does our behaviour remain unchanged on a global scale?
Do we ever feel the loss of wildlife in the same way? I was looking out of the window this morning seeing the frozen ground and thinking about how the birds and animals would be coping in the cold. I have been sitting watching the birds feed in the garden. Blue Tits and Dunnocks have been coming to the feeder whilst underneath a pigeon was waiting for the odd seed to fall into the ground. On a walk on Boxing Day the Coots and Swans on the lake looked to the visitors for food.
One of the other news stories recently has been the dramatic fall in the numbers of giraffes, which is another species to add to the list, along with Cheetahs, that are endangered. A gift I received this year was the sponsorship of a thousand bees, which are also under threat. Despite the popularity of TV series like Planet Earth II species continue move towards extinction while the human impact on the planet continues to increase. What more should I, and all of us, be doing to enable wildlife to prosper?
While harvesting the vegetables for the festive meals last week I watched a pair of Kites flying overhead; they seem to be thriving in this area. There are other birds that are doing well but some are declining rapidly. The changes that are happening are affecting both humans and wildlife in different ways depending on their context. We are learning more and more about human and animal behaviour, about the weather systems of the planet and the interaction between them. Can this knowledge lead to wisdom and action to preserve life?
How do we turn sentiment into active concern? How do we replace a sense of helplessness with a commitment to act and a determination to make a difference? I come back to my conviction that we must live more simply, treat each other and all life with respect and as equals, to press for the truth and not settle for rumour to hearsay, and to work hard at making peace and an end to killing of life in any form.
Life can and does survive in winter, hope remains even through the days filled with disaster, love persists even when rejected, and there can be joy even in times of loss.