In December, we took a Sunday drive, up over the East Bay hills, through Tilden Park, down into an area bounded by freeways, yet have no freeways slicing through the vast landscape. On our way through Tilden, South Park Drive was closed, as it is annually through the end of March for the newts who cross the road to mate. I wondered how many people get there and curse at the newts for blocking their way. This led me to think about all the little things in nature, like endangered snails and such that are held up as reasons not to build dams or housing developments, and the people who are impatient, caring about their own convenience. Could it be that if we taught our children to care for the newts and the snails, the water and the land, they would become more tolerant of people as well?
I've read that children who torture or experiment with animals often grow up to be criminals with disregard to others' feelings.
I had previously thought that conservation of animals, plants, and wildlife, although important and interesting, was not as important as taking care of people. But I'm now seeing the connection, not only for cleansing our spirits, but training us to be more compassionate and empathetic people. If there is a species, endangered or not, that seems irrelevant to us, it still has a right to live. Acknowledging this, we open ourselves.
The ospreys first led me to these thoughts. We saw fishing line, landscape netting, bags, even a stuffed snake brought to the nest. We watched the babies get tangled in the line and netting, then get freed. Humans created this problem. Humans can undo it. Packing out litter, using compostable netting and bags can help. Through creative work we can also encourage awareness of the issues.
Okay, I'll get down off my tree stump.
Here is Jewel Lake in Tilden Park, January 2018, finally full again.