Tuesday, August 19, 2008

August 13, 2008

Dear Sis~
I was looking out my little horizontal slit of a window today, gauging the weather in anticipation of going to rec, and I began observing a gaggle of sparrows sporting around in the long, overgrown grass. A mother sparrow was hopping around followed closely (more like chased, actually) by two big, plump babies almost as large as her. That they were her children was evident by their open beaks as they begged Mom for food. She would pick up a seed from the grass, hold it up, then pop it into a baby's beak. Then, she'd hop or fly a few feet away, the kids almost knocking her down as they crowded behind her, and she'd repeat the process. The more I watched, the more evident it became that she was trying to teach them to peck and hunt the abundant grass seeds for themselves. She'd point at the seeds with her beak, then look at the chicks expectantly. Finally, one baby bird figured it out and began eating seeds on its own. The other was was a little slower; it just kept sitting there, beak agape, demanding to be fed. Anyway, watching this play out, it dawned on me why I have not had the normal flocks of sparrows mobbing my bread crumbs that I throw out everyday at rec. Usually, the sparrows flock in as soon as I call them, or they are already waiting for me. But, for the last several weeks, only a few stragglers have shown up to eat. I figured it was just too hot for them, but now I've concluded that the momma birds (maybe the dads, too) are teaching their babies to forage for their natural foods, which are abundant this time of year. It would be counter-productive to simply let them eat bread crumbs, as they'd never learn to forage for themselves. In fact, I may be doing a disservice by feeding them now if the "free food" it is making them less self-sufficient. For that reason, I'm going to stop feeding them for awhile, at least until the fall. When it gets cold and the seeds are gone, perhaps they'll need some help. But for now, I'll let Mother Nature do what She does best...
I was mildly annoyed last week with the typical media coverage. Russia was invading Georgia, which counts as a substantial news event, and I was flipping through the channels, trying to find some coverage. All of our media outlets, however, were obsessed with breathlessly covering ex-senator John Edwards' 2-year old extra-marital affair. From local news to national news on every channel, that's all that was on, not a peep about the battling in Georgia. So, I waited for Nightline...I just knew they'd be covering this event. But no, the entire program was devoted to parsing and re-parsing every single aspect of this scandal, as if the fate of the free world hung in the balance. To me, this is a very personal matter, between Edwards and his wife, which they will personally work out (or not) and isn't worthy of much more than a mention. This is so typical of the American mindset, the puritanical obsession with anything involving sex, the rush to sacrifice and destroy and devour anyone who dares to "sin with sex." This is the mindset that believes sex is "dirty", the human body is sinful, and a sexual indiscretion is the highest crime. We'll impeach a president for a sexual matter, but a president who takes a nation to war based on a pack of lies and deception gets a free pass. This is the same crowd that's OK with blood-drenched slasher movies (killing, mayhem, guns and war are good!) but recoils if an actor dares to show a breast or if sex is implied (sex is bad!) What's wrong with this picture?
OK, they're pulling us for rec...I'm going to go out and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
Love, Bill

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi William. My name's Jay and I'm from Australia. I just read the book 'Death Row: Profiles of People Who Face The Ultimate Penalty'. I read the part you had written and so I thought I'd comment you because what you'd written was true and straight to the point.