I Am No More Insane Than John Brown or The Women of Seneca Falls

“Reading What We Leave Behind makes me think of Thoreau, of Lewis Mumford, of Tolstoy, who asked us to rethink our most deeply embedded beliefs in order to live clean, modest, thoughtful lives, to return to that natural world we have forsaken. Jensen and McBay are those rare thinkers who challenge all the accepted norms and habits of ‘civilization’ and ask us to get back to our naked selves.” – Howard Zinn on What We Leave Behind

“….stirred the deeper fibers of my nature.”
— Oscar Wilde

We will save the salmon. We will put an end to institutionalized torture on earth (http://www.zcommunications.org/zmag/viewArticle/21609). We will leave behind a healthy legacy throughout the fiber of this world, so help me….

Ada Govan was a housewife with a young family when in 1930 she lost three infant children in succession and her ten-year-old son barely survived a prolonged illness. To regain her physical and mental health, she and her husband built a house in the Massachusetts woods. Shortly thereafter Govan suffered a terrible fall that reduced her to a housebound invalid. In great physical pain and deeply depressed she looked out of her window during one terrible December blizzard to find a small chickadee clinging to her windowsill. She fed it, and the other birds that came, and soon found in their visits a reason to live.

Govan began writing articles about bird feeding and bird protection for “shut-ins,” the housebound, and “young mothers who wanted to train their children to grow up loving birds” for Nature Magazine under a pseudonym. When her property and her birds were threatened by real estate development, she used the money that poured in from grateful readers to establish the Woodland Bird Sanctuary, where she and her family continued not only to feed an amazing number of bird species but began their bird banding work. Eventually Govan banded hundreds of birds and kept careful records of their returns, astonishing ornithological experts with her numbers. Wings at My Window was the story of Govan’s backyard sanctuary and all that led to its establishment. In one chapter, “Children into Bird Lovers,” Govan suggested ways to teach a child to learn to love and protect wild creatures. That chapter particularly impressed Rachel Carson. And it had an enormous influence on the creators of Winged Migrations http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/winged_migration/.

One can find fault easily with Govan perhaps. But here… I am focusing on what is worthy of inspiration, emulation.

Join hands with me in solidarity, please. Immediately

As things stand, “Marine trash kills more than a million seabirds and 100,000 mammals and turtles each year [italics mine], as well as unimaginable numbers of fish — each and every one of these an individual worthy of consideration.” In addition, we are committing abominations which exceed the absolute horror of the Third Reich.

There IS another way to deal with the above easily… in addition to (or other than) what you’re doing at present.

“Garbage patches cover 40 percent of all of the oceans, or 25 percent of the entire planet.” And that momentum is growing.

Where are you going?

John Brown’s an example of someone who DID save the world. So is Rachel Carson. The thing is… it’s your turn. And that’s not a generic statement. Not at all. For all of their first cousins are dead. There’s only you and me left. Not Kim Jong-il. (1) Not Obama. And not the citizens who are pushing him or not pushing him. There’s only you and me (2).

(1) I’m dying for you to ask me why I slipped in his name here

(2) I think a large reason why people can’t stand me is that I ask them to take (truly challenging) action. To embrace some (new) action. Or because I bear witness to their enabling slavery… and other abominations.

Loving best in solidarity

Richard Oxman