Ghosts and Tiny Treasures — My Essay for Aeon
- Being Human
- Being Outside
- Boston Globe
- Earth and Sky
- Photography and Optics
- What's This?
TEN YEARS AGO THIS SPRING, I walked into the swamps of Arkansas to search for a ghost — and perhaps some redemption for wildlife … and for us.
I found neither.
But I did find hope. Aeon magazine today features my essay about Ivory-billed Woodpecker, extinction, a tiny butterfly and our messy relationship with wildlife and wild places.
Please share it with friends. Offer a comment on Aeon if you see fit. Thanks!
In April 2006 I dated a check ‘Ivory-billed Woodpecker Day, 2006’. (It was honored, strangely enough.) I remember the tears, the ‘redemption’ in the air. This essay beautifully combines the search for wisdom about the long, human strangulation of nature with science’s more exact yet equally compassionate duty of observation. Thank you, Bryan.
A very heartfelt message Brian, both from yours and in mine. It’s something of what I’ve been trying to say to my partner who attempts to understand my “odd” rantings; it’s the small stuff that we can’t readily measure or quantify both organic and man made that are our threats and our shortsightedness.
Superb article, Bryan. It seems to be that one of our flaws as humans is that we haven’t learned to appreciate what we have until it’s gone. It saddens and scares me that so much of our youth today would rather have a device in their palms experiencing a virtual reality than having our amazing natural world as their source of entertainment. They are the future, and their own future is in their own hands. Somehow, we as caring adults have to in some way knock their socks off to fuel their interest in the natural world, because the competition of technology and the virtual world is a fierce one. The stewardship of our Mother Earth is at stake.
Thanks so much, Julie. I was guiding a birding trip in Canada several years ago. At the end of a long day, I came upon a group of teens who had been at a preserve, sitting in a circle in the grass, their binoculars at their sides. Instead of looking at devices, they were all thumbing through field guides, discussing the birds they had seen that afternoon. It was great! And rare!
Great article, Bryan. Thanks for the link.
Thanks, Buck. I hope to see you out there some day again soon!
Sad but wonderful article. I like the “extinction of experience” phrase.
Thanks, Charlie. As it turns out, I’ll be visiting with Bob Pyle here in Vermont in June. He’s a force with words and a force for conservation.