FISHING RIGHTS

The scuffle for fishing rights began this morning at the Dempsey-Ramshaw dam and will decide, for two Great Blue Herons (Ardea Herodias), which one gets to feast on the fish that found a way to stay alive through the winter. It seems hardly fair that surviving the freezing water may only prepare them for a Heron meal. Natural life is hard and at times even cruel in its events. Last year the reigning Heron killed a younger contender. Signs of new spring life are however encouraging for someone like me who finds little pleasure in winter except for my view from the inside of our kitchen window and an upstairs office of the feeders in our garden never empty of action through wind or blizzard.

The melting snow revealed to my dismay this morning the place where the hawk gorged itself on one of the Redwing blackbirds (Agelaius Phoeniceus) who waited too long at our dam at the end of autumn. The only sign of beauty left to remember this beautiful specimen is its tiny red over-wing feathers still bedded in the melting snow and fluttering helplessly in the spring breeze. The best I could do to keep its memory was to nestle a few between the pages of one of my favorite books. I wonder what its life-long partner will do. Will it return to our spot with another to breezily announce the spring?

New days often bring changes we do not expect. To brave them with the same old attitudes somehow does not seem right. Change is unnerving. It confronts us with possibilities we may not feel we can face. It can point us more to what we lack than to our achievements. However, the message of change stirs a hope in the new that keeps us from overly committing to merely repeating the past. Nature’s creatures are less sure of their continuity than the human is, and therefore, they cannot assume a right to anything. This ‘uncertainty’ embeds all they do in their seasons. It defines why they daily work to continue; to propagate, and to migrate.

Humans, by contrast, seem to fall more easily into the trap of fearing change and its benefits. This fear breeds an intolerance to uncertainty that is not real and strays from what is fundamental to our ‘nature’—a view of change through the filter of the wonder of hope and the wisdom of reverence.

I return to the Herons whose struggles for fishing rights are themselves framed in the need to feed and to ensure their continued existence. There is a grace in this that reflects an exuberant-abundant hope in all the living for a better future.

Loys
27th March 2013

Dedicated: to my brother Eric, for those special moments spent with him taking these pictures

Loys
27th March 2013

Dedicated: to my brother Eric, for those special moments spent with him taking these pictures