Wednesday, January 02, 2008


"Emerson says that 'The day does not seem wholly profane in which we have given heed to some natural object.' If Emerson had stopped to qualify his remark, he would have added, if we give heed to it in the right spirit, if we give heed to it as a nature-lover and truth-seeker. Nature-love as Emerson knew it, and as Wordsworth knew it, and as any of the choicer spirits of our time have known it, has distinctly a religious value. It does not come to a man or a woman who is wholly absorbed in selfish or worldly or material ends. Except ye become in a measure as little children, ye cannot enter the kingdom of Nature - as Audubon entered it, as Thoreau entered it, as Bryant and Amiel entered it, and as all those enter it who make it a resource in their lives and an instrument of their culture. The forms and creeds of religion change, but the sentiment of religion - the wonder and reverence and love we feel in the presence of inscrutable universe - persist. Indeed, these seem to be renewing their life today in this growing love for all natural objects and in this increasing tenderness toward all forms of life. If we do not go to church as much as did our fathers, we go to the woods much more, and are much more inclined to make a temple of them than they were."

- John Burroughs, The Gospel of Nature

In 2008, I will not record a year list of bird species. However, I will still collect eBird data for Pheasant Branch Conservancy and that's where I will continue to focus my nature quests. I will also continue to increase my understanding of non-avian flora and fauna, especially native plants and wildflowers. I will endeavor to do as much as I can to limit the squandering of communal resources in pursuit of these interests by staying close to home. Provided with the means to do so, I will help people and organizations whose goals are the same as mine; to protect nature's creatures and the habitats they depend upon. Make every bird a life bird.

Woods image © 2008 Mike McDowell

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