By Ériu Erin Moran Martinez (Detroit, MI), re-posted with permission from Facebook
Calling my kin who are in need of a strong dose of wonder, connection, and mystery…
Please come birding in the alleys with me. I walk the alleys in my neighborhood a few times a week, and it is a deeply nourishing experience. Yes, there is unsightly business back there, and vigilance is required. But the birds (and other kin) I encounter there remind me that we are surrounded and supported by our non-human relatives, all the time and everywhere, even here in the heart of the city. Our alleys, in their “weediness”, are a secret oasis for the birds, where they feed on seeds, insects, and rodents. It’s in the alleys where many birds shelter in the overgrown brambles and bushes from harsh weather. It’s there where so many secret away to mate, nest, and raise their young.
And the presence of those birds, (despite our ignorance in regard to our interdependence, our fear and suspicion of them, and our subsequent efforts, both active and passive, to eradicate them), is the utmost testimony to resilience, perseverance, and dignity.
I know with all my being that those dirty little sparrows, flitting around between the branches of the overgrown brush, are spirit warriors of the highest order.
Birding in the alleys reminds me that we don’t have to go “away” to encounter nature and beauty. We ARE nature and we ARE beauty, and if we open our eyes to the world beyond what the dominant culture parades across our screens everyday, we can see that we are IMMERSED in beauty. Our work as two-legged beings is to partner with the rest of our natural kin in caring for Our Sacred Mother, but we have to awaken to our connection and embodiment of the Sacred Beauty to live into our role.
We are not stewards. We are not keepers. We are partners.