Daily Archives: June 16, 2020

Don Torino's Life in the Meadowlands: "Is It Me or Are There More Birds This Year?”


 As I was getting into my truck a few weeks back a nice woman noticing the BCAS logo on my door waved her arms to flag me down. “This may be a stupid question,” she said hesitantly, “But is it me or are there more birds around this year?” I stopped and smiled and said, well its springtime and you are certainly hearing more birds at this time of year but in reality, yes, it is you!” She smiled and thanked me and turned around and said, “I knew that,” which was magic to my ears.

They say out of great tragedy comes  great wisdom and judging from all the emails, text messages, photos and being flagged down events I have been getting I think we are on our way to gaining great understanding when it comes to our connection to nature.

Throughout my life it has always been that in one way or another I have searched out nature at my times of hurt and vulnerability. At periods of loss, death and sadness nature has always been there for me, taking me under its wing, and letting me know things are as they should be. Nature is the healer,  the one constant in our lives that no matter what we do or where we are, it is there waiting for us, seemingly silent when no attention is paid but loud and enlightening  as it reminds us  to join and connect our lives once again to the natural world around us.

People more than ever now have been getting back to nature. It might be through feeding the birds, planting a butterfly garden or vegetable garden, hiking the local trails or yes, even getting out birding for the first time. In all of these instances our hearts and souls have brought us back to where we have always been just waiting for us to open our eyes and see. 

I have been receiving more questions on climate change, bird populations, cutting down of trees and best of all, could I please ID a bird for them, which when all is said and done may be the most important question of all as people for the first time discover the nature that is right outside their door.

Our most serious threat to the environment and to our own lives is not climate change, not pollution or habitat loss or for that matter any particular politician. The biggest threat is disconnecting from nature. How can we ever ask people to preserve habitats, clean up the water, protect endangered species and yes, halt climate change, if we don’t care about the nature that exists right in our own backyard? 

As we return to work and school and begin to emerge from this horrifying pandemic we need not to forget what we found important, where we looked for peace and solace, and where we rediscovered what is real and truly important and yes, something that is there for everyone to embrace and hold close to our hearts forever, nature.

It is my hope that we will continue to venture outside, wander the woods and fields, watch the butterflies in the backyard and yes, smell the flowers, as we begin to live our lives again. By all means please let your hearts be curious enough to ask the question, “I wonder what bird that is?”