Sunday, January 18, 2009

Where I Stand Sunday

Today, I stand over a controversy. It's a controversy for ME and maybe for YOU?

It has been playing in my mind for over 19 years. It started when I went back to college to become a classroom elementary educator and was involved in making a learning unit on "Wolves". At that time, the U.S. was in hot debate about what to do with wolves - since they had been mostly eradicated from the lower 48 states. They existed in Alaska, on Ellesmere Island and around the Mexican border. I was passionate about protecting them. I was upset when I heard that farmers and ranchers had the right to shoot and kill any renegade wolf found off of the preserve area that had been established where they were being reintroduced to the US "wild", mainly Idaho and Yellowstone. Wolves don't know how to read physical boundaries created by man. If you have seen the movie "Never Cry Wolf" you understand that the wolf has an important job to cull the herd of the sick and unable animals - especially in caribou. In my unit of study, I helped kids gain the knowledge of the issues at hand and let them form their own opinions and form them they did. It isn't too difficult for a child living in the city to adopt the thinking of 'protection of wildlife' - at all costs. (BTW, nothing made the hair on my neck bristle so, as to hear Sarah Palin talk about aerial hunting for sport of wolves in the state of Alaska and I still read everything I can about the current affairs with wolves in Alaska and elsewhere.)

I have learned something about myself in the past few years. I now live in an area where wild animals are not appreciated, unless they are, of course, "hunter's bounty". Before now, I thought of them as the cute raccoon, the sweet looking skunk, the rugged badger, the awesome coyote that howls across the plains at night, these animals still remain - alway 'beautiful' to me. I have begun to understand the damage to livestock and livelihood that they can wreak at any given time - winter, summer, spring or fall. My thinking has been changed to "finding a balance" - watching how hard people work to make a living off of crops they plant and harvest and the livestock they raise for whatever reason. It isn't easy. It isn't cheap. It isn't something to take lightly or make fun of. It's the way of the American farmer.

There are four new vulnerable little calves across the road. I try to not think of them as cute...but I can't help it. I learned that this fellow (update: I guess I should say his 'carcass') was laying near the chicken compound, so I had to come take a look. Although - not a wolf, it's the counterpart in this area, the coyote. It isn't easy to stand here but I had to come see...I think I am understand.
One less song on the night's breeze.

Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.


Marian Fortunati said...

What a thoughtful and heartfelt blog.
Balance or discord in all life .. even between humans so hard to wrap our minds and hearts around. ... It's almost always about point of view ... how much you share... how much you can even understand.

Mark Bridges said...

I don't think this is the one that Shredded my moms 15yrs old cat, eating all but the heart and fur, before the crows chased him off. Everyone loves them until they eat a family member. But they get just as mad at the deer when they eat 1000 head of lettuce over night.

Pattie Wall said...

You are so right Marian - even between humans. Understanding is what I have really opened up to recently, can't quite grasp if it's age and wisdom or environment - or a little of both.

Pattie Wall said...

Mark, that's truly a balance issue and point of view. My parent's neighbor watched one come down the street, put it's mouth around one of their little yorkies out in the yard and snap it's neck and eventually was chased off. So sad. Have had personal experience with corn eating in the middle of the night. It's maddening! Therefore, electric fences. Great weather here today.
Hope you are painting!

Karen Hargett said...

That is a hard spot to stand in. I stand beside you for balance. I understand both sides - yep - it's a hard spot.

Ellen said...

I may never forget that last line... "One less song on the night's breeze." Absolutely beautiful. Did you write it?

Wolves just do what they were born to do. It's our job to protect, not attack.

Pattie Wall said...

Well said Ellen, thanks. I penned the "one less..." phrase - truly from the heart. And that's what I often hear at night, are those wonderful 'songs and laughter' there is one less.

Susan Carlin said...

Thank you for this essay, Pattie. My mind stretched a bit wider than it had been before I read it.

Pattie Wall said...

Thanks for reading it.