Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lessons from the bare ground

From the Heartland, Margot McMillen writes: What a gorgeous day! We’re enjoying the last little shiver of winter, 15 degrees when I went out to feed, and next week it could be 70 again. I took a long walk, picked up a few bits of trash in the pasture—-glass bottles, plastic lids, a big old iron wheel that we can use some time for something. I put them on the pile of recycleables. Last week, I lost a lamb to a predator. That morning, on my walk across the bare ground, I saw a streak of blood on the path but not a trace of the lamb. It was one of our biggest, so this predator is large and choosy. It left the little ones. And I couldn’t see any hair on the fence, indicating the predator might have jumped with it. A big cat? One of our neighbors photographed a mountain lion playing in her pond. Or, could an eagle swoop away a lamb? I saw an eagle in another neighbor’s pasture a couple of weeks ago. And what, pray tell, were my guard donkeys doing on that morning? Obviously, they were playing a game that didn’t include guarding sheep. So I moved the female donkey away from the male and so far so good. I’m also locking everyone up at night, which is not my preferred strategy. Would rather let them stay out. But today is bright and chilly, and the baby lambs are having a blast running around. They make me think about the future. My kids. Grandkids. The world we’re leaving them isn’t the world we inherited 50 or 60 years ago. A lot of what’s here is stuff we put down and it ain’t good. Trashy old wheel hubs. Chemical stuff designed to kill weeds or bugs or rodents or whatever. We kept the yards and fields tidy, but we’ve left stuff with side effects that hurt every living thing. So I see my daughter and her friends spending all their money buying organic, trying to find time and space to keep gardens, wearing themselves out with worry, as if there’s not enough to be worn out about when you have kids. Tomorrow, there will be a protest in Washington DC to demonstrate that citizens are sick of waiting for action on environmental problems. I hope the media is there and the message gets out.

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