These last few months have been a difficult winter for many. The arctic winds raced southward, ice thickened, and snow piled ever higher. After the last few very mild winters, the Cailleach seemed to be more than making up for lost time. Grumbled curses on the winter from the human peoples endlessly rumble from every road, every workplace, and every news station.
It is in times like these that my wonder and my respect for the tenacity of the furred and feathered peoples abound. As I sit comfortably warm inside a house with sustenance aplenty just a few footsteps away, I watch the birds through the window. Their rapid darts and pecks at the seeds in the feeder, on the ground, and encased in the suet strive to bring them away from death’s grasp seed by seed. I see them shelter from the wind and snow and cold in the pine trees a few feet from the feeder, and I wonder what thoughts they might be having about the difficulties of the season. They succeed year after year, good weather or bad. That thought brought to mind an excerpt (emphasis added) from the introduction of This Day: Collected & New Sabbath Poems by Wendell Berry:
The longer I have lived and worked here among the noncommercial creatures of the woods and fields, the less I have been able to conceive of them as ‘wild’. They plainly are going about their own domestic lives … always well-adapted to their places. They are far better at domesticity than we industrial humans are. It became clear to me also that they think of us as wild, and that they are right. We are the ones who are undomesticated, barbarous, unrestrained, disorderly, extravagant, and out of control.
‘Modernized’ human peoples do not appear to be “well-adapted to their places” when their clothes are not designed to last and are thrown ‘away’ rather than repaired or repurposed, when their living spaces are heated with non-renewable resources whose methods of acquisition and use pollute and destroy the very planet they live on, when the concept of ‘food’ is represented by boxes and brand names rather than plants that grow in the ground and the bodies of other creatures, when they would rather point fingers in ‘blame’ at the turn of the seasons than confront the unsustainable practices the cycles of the Earth expose.. the examples go on and on.
This image and its accompanying quote sum up the solution to these issues nicely.