Tipping the scales
I love, love, love the vivid descriptions of the juvenile birds! The sound of your voice telling those tale made me smile and laugh as I could immediately envision them. It brought me joy 😊
Chloe, I love the way your mind works and the special gift you have to articulate it so clearly, seamlessly and wisely. You give me oause, and allow me to think of things I never thought of.
Migration broke my heart.
Chloe, I admire so much the way you are able to close the gap between the two topics of death and birds. Your fourth paragraph is such a smooth transition. I also find it remarkable how you can clearly talk about death for three paragraphs without ever mentioning death. Your description of baby birds is delightful. Thank you for excellence. I always read your posts first.
Chloe, your writing and your performance of that writing never disappoints. This is such a thoughtful exploration of the dread we all feel like the hum of a refrigerator or furnace in the background of our days. Nature is the only thing I've found to consistently quiet this feeling. I try not to think about it going away even as I know much of it is disappearing either directly or indirectly because of us.
I've recently lost my little writing sanctuary here in the city park. They've ripped out all the wild trees and underbrush to make way for a broad paved biking trail and grassy lawn with manicured trees. It's progress. I know it will make it more accessible, but I mourn the little bit of wilderness where owls could still hunt.
I know this dread, Chloe, and 3 a.m. is its witching hour. Your post turned from that to the idea of extinction, and there is a terrible loneliness embodied in both. Speaking about it is brave, and powerful. 🕊️
Chloe, you have once more captured the beauty and the dread , within and around us. I feel it as you write it. I truly fell in love with birds in the midst of lockdown as the world quietened down and I noticed them more than ever before. I loved learning about the different tendencies and temperaments you have witnessed in your work.💚
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I could read you every morning and feel right in the world. I also awaken in the dark, only it is my scream that wakes me. I believe in the collective consciousness. That is what I think is waking us. All my life has been about fighting the progress of humans. Now that I am an elder I am letting go of the fight. I think I am doing an okay job of it but the waking tells me not so much. Sitting in the woods and letting them wash over me heals the waking nightmare. I am reconciled to our fate after all we chose it. I ask the forest, wildness to forgive me and it heals me. I wish I could see it before we got here and after we are gone. It must be glorious!!!!
Beautiful, as always. I think you would enjoy this place. https://www.in-vendee.com/distinctive-landscapes/marais-poitevin-and-green-venice
I’m reading this in the dread-tide time, the ‘wolf hour’. The way you draw these experiences together, the mismatched weights of planetary loss and individual fledglings, is extraordinarily moving. Thank you. 🌊
Inspiring and such beautiful writing! I Know the names of birds only in Farsi...I have been looking up each one of them and yours description are magical. Thank you
One small reason I love your work, besides it being incredibly great, is that I volunteered at a wildlife sanctuary rehabilitating injured birds for a summer after college, so it brings back some memories of the bird personalities. I'm still pretty sure magpies are smarter than people.
If only all the world could hear your voice and read your words, for then there would be more hope for humanity and a change of its course away from destruction, dread and greed.
As always, I pause and think and ponder upon reading and listening to your post, Chloe. That location and canoeing in Brecon looks so peaceful. The descriptions of the birds brought a smile to my face. Your thoughts on that 3am dread are so well articulated. "This earthen cocoon feels sentient." is a remarkable line.
Baby birds! Who knew they had such distinct personalities? (You did).
Thank you so much for the kind words about my essay, Chloe. And as always, thanks for the reverence and honesty in your ideas and prose. I think I might gladly swap my dread for yours, which, despite your sense of malevolence, seems nonetheless to have a kind of healing awareness to it as well. I suppose that comes from within, of course, from your good sense of yourself and place in the world. My own dread at 3AM is the usual and random mess of events and ideas and people battering my consciousness, all quite unmanageable. So my response is to envision myself walking on a specific trail that I know and love, almost step by step, into the Grand Canyon here in the U.S. Maybe my descending a mile into the earth, past millions of years of geological history, is similar to your earthen cocoon. Mine as well holds me so that I drift back to sleep.
David’s probably right about the last Bengal tiger. To get a sense of what that last Passenger Pigeon might have felt, and to feel the pain of an endangered bird, I suggest Last of the Curlews by Fred Bodsworth (https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/15478/last-of-the-curlews-by-fred-bodsworth-afterword-by-graeme-gibson-afterword-by-graeme-gibson/9780771093890/excerpt). I suspect it would resonate very much with you. I read it some years ago — it’s moving (and I hope not overwrought; at least I don’t think it is).
In any event, I am so far behind on my reading and commenting — but so glad to have caught up with another brilliant essay of yours. Thanks again.
What a glorious canal trip!! I hope that while there you were able to offer up the existential dread to nature. She’s amazingly good at taking it and letting it dissipate into millions of tiny atoms which get overwhelmed by the perfection of her beauty. Otherwise, feel free to send it up in the air and direct it towards Australia. It should be ‘plum tuckered out’ by the time it gets here. Grin. Take care dear soul. Sending heaps of love, hugs and best wishes. 🤗🤗😃😃😘😘🌼🌼
I’m delighted to have found you here. I love the attention to detail and your loving and humorous descriptions of the baby birds. To this, I couldn’t agree more: “And that’s exactly why my greatest hope is that we all, in whatever way we feel most moved to, find active ways to profess our love—for the natural world, for our brothers and sisters, human and otherwise.” Thank you. May it be so.
When my personal 3AM wins it’s because it convinces me I’m the Last Bengal Tiger, and I don’t even notice to challenge that. It’s not that I’ll cease to be but, worse, that I’m alone. Generally speaking, by 6AM I can see the absurdity in that, but woe is 3:45, 4:15, 5:22…