Saturday, March 24, 2007

Getting in Touch with My Inner Lorax

Last week, I saw what looked like rabbits moving oddly in our back yard. On further inspection, it turned out to be a mated pair of birds I'd never seen American Woodcock. These odd and reclusive birds are related to shorebirds, but have adapted to the environment in the deep woods and wetland. I conferred with my father-in-law and my mom, both avid birders, and neither had ever seen one. These are not city birds, not by a long shot. They don't really belong inside the Beltway, but the little patch of woods behind my house was evidently the best shelter they could find.

Yesterday, the neighbor directly behind us hired a team of day laborers, who promptly began to cut down every single tree at the rear of his lot. Tall healthy oaks and poplars, about a dozen of them, as well as a few smaller trees and all of the underbrush. What had been a nice little bit of woods in the back of his lot..a little patch of potential habitat...was quickly reduced to a muddy and denuded third-world moonscape. I watched, seething. But it was his property. Nothing I could do.

After dispatching the trees in his yard, the laborers moved to a large healthy poplar that sits smack in between our respective property. I went out and suggested, gently, that in order to take out this tree they'd need to work on my land...and I wasn't going to give permission for them to do so. The only English speaker of the group, a twelve year old boy, put up some resistance, but the foreman (evidently his father) considered for a moment and then shooed him off, and quickly called down the laborer who was starting to take out the lower branches.

Having dominion over creation allows us to do...well...anything we want. But the type of steward you are counts. He does hold us to account for what we do with what He's given us.