Another reason why we need birds

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Eastern Meadowlark at Howard Marsh Metropark

This year has started out to be alerting and concerning for me. I can barely watch the news as it is filled with footage of the ravenous Australian wildfires; charred animals stuck to fencing as they tried to escape and homes and land destroyed. Earthquakes are rattling ocean islands and reducing structure to rubble. Water levels, even locally here on Lake Erie, are high causing every nor’easter to inflict damage on dikes, land, and houses along the lakeshore.

This is not mentioning what is going on in the national and global spotlight politically. What pushed me for the need to write is the latest conflict between the United States and Iran. To some, this blog post might seem negative; but to me it is more of a realist view of the situation.

It might seem like a flashy word right now, but I have known my whole life that I am an empath. When people close to me confide in me and share their heartaches and troubles, I take it in – inside my heart and mind – like it is happening to me. Likewise, current events of travesty, worry, and concern I absorb like a sponge, soaking up all the emotion and processing it like it is happening to me in real time. Having the self-awareness to know this is happening can help slow the process, but it doesn’t stop it completely.

With all that being said, the presidency of Donald J. Trump has, and I know that I am not alone, flipped a switch of emotion that strikes a core of deep and grave concern inside me.

I was scared from the beginning of the elections in 2016. I wasn’t a fan of Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump. I still think Bernie Sanders got a raw deal from Hilary and the Democratic Party, but I digress. I voted for Clinton thinking she would be the lesser of two evils. I was very afraid of what a Donald Trump presidency would mean for America. His egotistical, white, elitism scared me. The “grab her by the pussy” audio still haunts me to this day. How could anyone think that behavior is okay? How could someone vote for a man with that much little respect for women, the disadvantaged, and the poor?

His changes to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act have really set back protections for a large majority of migratory birds, especially Bald Eagles. If it is not your “intent” to harm or kill the animal, then it’s okay. Want to drain a marsh and build a condo complex? Cool! There’s eagle nests there? No problem!

After a lot of thought, the simplest way to explain it and what it really breaks down to is that its money over everything; money over morals, money over the environment, money over humanity, and money over progress.

By saying this, I am divulging the fact that I can obviously go deep inside myself and get stuck in my own emotions, but especially with this kind of thing. And, as the title states, that is just another reason why birds and nature are important.

My quality of life has been improved so much by going outside and watching, really watching, birds and nature. Noticing every little, simple detail that I can: the pattern on a Red-bellied Woodpecker’s wings, a Wooly Bear caterpillar rolled in a ball in my hand, the warmth of the lake air breeze against my face in the spring, the way a bird wipes their beak after they eat, the papery peeling bark on a tree. These things ground me and help me see that this world is beautiful and full of light.

I often wish for more levelheaded emotion. But, I know that being concerned is showing that I care and I don’t want to ever turn that off.

((I must note: by talking about the healing power of nature before, nature is not the only thing that helps me. I am not suggesting that staring at some trees will heal mental illness, trauma, or deep-seeded issues. I go to therapy, take daily medications, and part of my journey towards healing is being immersed in nature.))

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