By Lynda Shadbolt
My husband Jim and I volunteer for the Barnum Lake Nature Reserve. One of our jobs last spring was to hang about 10 bird boxes that had been built by volunteers. These boxes get used by tree swallows, blue birds and chickadees and, so late on a chilly April morning we went out to clean each box out so that they are ready for this spring. We opened each one, cleaned out the sticks and other materials and re-hung them. As we were tromping through the woods I found myself thinking about the fact that we all really have three homes to look after. Each of us are given a “structure” to live in. Our common shared presence, or inner universe of loving kindness, or grace or goodness or spirit or essence or light and love lives in a structure. We happen to have two legs and have thumbs. Birds happen to be covered in feathers and fly. Trees are covered in bark and have roots that go deep into the earth. Snakes have skin that sheds every year. Whales have tails and fins so they can swim. Every living being has its own home, its own structure to look after it to keep strong and healthy, so it can live the life it is destined to lead. We all have to look after our structure so that our “spirits” or “inner universes” can shine brightly! Our second home is where we actually live and sleep, eat and raise our children. Perhaps the home is a bird box or a nest on a branch. A cave in the woods. A swamp. An ocean. A desert. A log cabin by the lake or bungalow in a subdivision. We all have a home that we cherish and take good care of so that we can live the lives that we want to live. Everyone needs a home.
Our third home is the planet itself. All beings share this planet and we all have a responsibility to be good stewards and look after it. We all need to make choices that benefit the well-being of all. We know enough from science that if all the bumble bees disappear, the whole planet is in trouble. “Ants are one of the most populous insect species, and they play a crucial role in soil aeration, soil fertilization, ecological balance and are a source of food for other creatures. So, their extinction would be catastrophic to the ecosystem.”
Every being matters. We are all connected and what happens to one of us affects all of us. On Friday, April 22 is Earth Day and it is a good reminder to pay attention and make good choices that benefit all who share this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all need good food and homes to live. So on this morning I am silently saying thank you to all the people in this county who have made the time to build and clean bird boxes. Every small action supports the whole.