Today I travel to the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association Annual Symposium in Bellevue, Washington. It has been a long time since I have worked in avian rehabilitation. As an avian veterinarian I have always taken in wild birds, or referred them to others. Somewhere along the line I lost hope in this work as it seemed a band-aid type of approach when the world was suffering such degradation and extinction. Charitable acts to return injured, young, or ill birds to the wild seemed like a drop in the bucket compared to what outdoor cats, pesticides, habitat destruction, hunting, and poaching did to bird populations the world over. I strove for changes and the healing of the human heart that could impact social systems so that we could would not just consider the needs of all beings, but act from a biocentric, and not a human centric ethic. I also wasn’t sure that taking care of individual birds was always n their best interest, given the stress and pain of captive management with many species.
Indeed it is a complex world. The web of suffering cannot be eliminated, nor can the interweaving of beauty that happens in multispecies encounters. I no longer feel that I have the answers to how we might live in beauty and have it eternally fly over us. I journey then to this symposium, knowing that I share with others of my own species a respect, wonder, and care of the beauty around me, though we each make take different paths. On all these paths, however, there is beauty before us. We walk in beauty. We work in beauty. We rehabilitate in beauty.