July 03, 2006

Overlapping and abutting habitats

Three Birds By VERLYN KLINKENBORG Homepage: July 3, 2006
"Habitat" sounds awfully general. It turns out to mean not some willful choice — the kind a human would make deciding to live in Dallas rather than in Denver — but a profound correlation. The marsh is who the red-winged blackbird is. The fence post is the meadowlark.
When I first began to notice birds, I thought of them as autonomous creatures whose habitations were simply unconnected matters of fact — as though the pictures of the birds in my bird book could somehow fly free of the pages themselves. But recognizing what you see means, first of all, taking account of where you see it. It becomes clear, sooner or later, that we live in a world of infinitely overlapping and abutting habitats — and that we are one of the rare creatures that are unbound, except in the broadest sense, by place and vocation. It takes an act of will on our part to remember how profoundly, and how beautifully, bound to habitat all the other creatures around us really are.

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