Mar 27 2011

Not a Silent Spring

During a number of periods of quiet this past week I became keenly aware of the songs of birds being sung outside my home.  I have enjoyed the tunes provided by mockingbirds, cardinals and chickadees.  More than once the bird’s songs have made me think of Rachel Carson.

I have always enjoyed the outdoors.  A lot of my childhood years were spent playing in the woods.  It was not, however, until about twenty years ago that I  became interested in environmental issues.  When I did become interested one of the first books I read was Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.  As many of you know, this classic work revealed the detrimental effects of certain pesticides on birds and other wildlife species.  Carson feared we would be facing “silent springs” if the use of these pesticides were not banned.  Thankfully, Silent Spring led to many important changes and caused our country to become more sensitive to environmental issues.

Rachel Carson was keenly aware of our need to practice good stewardship when it comes to the earth.  She once wrote, “The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery—not over nature but of ourselves.”  Her words are perhaps more true today than ever before.  In many different venues humans and the environment continue to be threatened by harmful chemicals and pollution.  We still need voices like Rachel Carson’s to rise up and take a stand against these dangers.  Christians should join in the chorus and remember our divine calling to care for the earth.  We cannot afford to forget that “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15)

Because of the courage and passion of one like Rachel Carson I have yet to experience a silent spring.  Will the generations that follow us be able to say the same thing?  Perhaps, but they will not if we do not do our part now and make every effort possible to keep harmful substances out of our air and waters.  We will have to be wiser than those who have gone before us.  I hope and pray that we will.  I just cannot imagine a spring without the songs of birds.  Can you?


(I took these bird images at my home this past week.)

Sep 1 2009

Partially Blind?

morning gloryRachel Carson is probably best known for her environmental classic Silent Spring.  One of her other books that I have enjoyed is The Sense of Wonder.  Here she writes, “For most of us, knowledge of our world comes largely through sight, yet we look about with such unseeing eyes that we are partially blind.   One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before?  What if I knew I would never see it again?’”

Something tells me that if we asked Carson’s two questions more often we would definitely begin to look at things differently.  Far too many of us are guilty of taking our surrounding for granted.  Numerous times I have presented slide shows featuring the beauty of the area I live in to local folks who afterwards say they can’t believe that such beauty exists all around them.  They have quit seeing what is there.

Getting into photography seventeen years ago literally gave me a new set of eyes through which to see the world.  I have become far more observant of my surroundings than I was before.  Still, I have no doubt that there is much I miss every day.  It would help me if I would remember to ask Carson’s two questions more often.

Being able to see truly is a gift from God.  The scriptures teach us that with gift comes responsibility.  Does it not, then, make sense that failure to see all God wants us to see is a sin?   That we are expected to be good stewards of our vision?  In the Gospels we read of various blind people seeking Jesus’ healing touch.  Perhaps some of us who are “partially blind” need to ask for his healing touch as well.


(The photo of the morning glory seen above was recently taken in my yard.)