Sculptor . Painter . Poet




JULY 4TH – 07/18/2007

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Click image for larger viewLeo at home in front of the Hummingbird Gate

It has been my lucky break in these 60 years of life to have become a recognized artist and during part of that time to have a reputation as a wildlife artist. With that came the amazing and delightful opportunities to know personally and intimately such people as Roger Tory Peterson, the “Father” of the birding field guidebooks and Bob Bateman the great Canadian (Salt Spring Island, not far from here) Artist and Conservationist and David Carroll of New Hampshire a dear friend who is the recent recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship as a naturalist and National Living Treasure and so many, many more dedicated fellows of the earth.
Along with such friends and even to the extent of former vice presidents, I have come to a place in life where I too am asked to be a ‘voice’ on behalf of our wild creatures. I and my wife Jane Lane are lucky also to live in one of the most beautiful places on this planet and in close proximity with a San Juan Land Preserve. This is a marshland full of wildlife and especially nesting birds at this time of year.
Our spiritual nature asks us to listen to the bird songs and remain in harmony with that and to not cause anymore separateness than we are already experiencing. With that I speak for the animals and the birds and the wild crawling creatures of our marshlands and wetlands.
Once again this year and more over the top than ever we had to spend the entire day of July 4th listening to shattering sounds of fireworks. My human nature asks me, how is it that we perceive celebrating Independence Day with the sound of war, especially while we are at war?
It was noon on July 4th that the first WAR BOOM was sent up and after an eternal moment of shock, the awful shriek of the great blue heron who like a great ancestral relic came raging in fear out of the cedars of the preserve seeking a safe haven. That continued from noon till midnight on July 4th and sporadically the day before and after!
The eagle pair that sings us awake every morning these past six years were shocked from their roosting limbs and did not return for two days. We wonder about the hundreds or thousands of nesting song birds who could not leave their nesting young or they may have left them abandoned in fear, who knows really. We wonder about the newborn fawns and all of the other living creatures that inhabit this beautiful island. We have heard from people with dogs that it can take a week to calm some of them down (these being domesticated) and folks with horses who have to stay out in the pastures with them over night so that they don’t go crazy. Our own cat Sweet Pea hid in the back of our bedroom closet trembling with fear.
Next July 4th, please consider the wildlife, please consider offering those dollars spent on fireworks to a natural cause. We have so many now. We are about to make everything extinct on the planet if we do not turn it around now.
Please join us in a pledge of life and listen to the bird songs and the frogs and the turtles and all the life that we sometimes have taken for granted.
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