Friday, September 24, 2010

Companions and Compassion


lived with a Nanday Conure by the name of Exodor for 23 years.  He died in 2003.  I still have his egg and have an image of one
of his feathers as a tattoo.  More than
anything the image of his beautiful and graceful self is engraved in my heart
for ever.  He had such spunk, courage,
deep intelligence, and loyalty. He lived with me all over including California,
Alaska, Tennessee, Texas, North Carolina, and Guatemala.  There are hundreds of stories I could tell
that would testify to his inherent worth and dignity, but perhaps more than
anything I recall is the beauty of his flight as he flew across the room to
join me with that high pitched call that screamed out "I'm so alive, I'm
so glad to see you, I'm such a conure!"

of my deep bond with him I am especially attuned to others of his species.  A few years ago I was in St. Petersburg. I
heard a squawk and my heart leaped. Sure enough there was family of Nandays
coming in and out of a nest cavity in a palm tree in a parking lot.  I was so enamored with them that I took my
spouse back there a few months later to celebrate our anniversary what we now
fondly know of as "
St. Parrotsburg." 
We spent the day walking around the down town area chasing Nandays,
Quakers, and various other kinds of free flying parrots that were far from
their original lands. 


Nandays in Sarasota 

countries of origin though don't seem so far away now that I have known
Nandays.  Through Exodor I am forever
called to pay attention to wild parrots, and care for them.  For now I know how they are like feathered
angels, gifting us with a picture of heaven on earth where all beings

Nanday flying 
(photo by Robert Blanchard) 

Others have been
gifted to with this connection of wild and companion birds.  Recently I have become friends with Marc
Johnson and Karen Windsor of Foster Parrots. 
I am so taken with them and their projects in in
Guyana.  I interviewed them and highlighted their work on my other blog, Lafeber Conservation and Wildlife.   Here's is what I found.  They know power and are yielding it well, if
not with discomfort and pain on their part. Because in their work with
companion birds where they love them, care for them, sacrifice for them, and
witness to their beauty and their suffering, they can draw on authentic  motivations to address the situation of the
free flying wild counterparts in Guyana and other countries.  They do not
keep their heart and dedication enclosed into a box, but extend it out to other
species, including their fellow great apes - humans.  This is perhaps the hardest piece, loving our
human neighbors as ourselves in our mixed species communities. 

I have
struggled mightily with this, for I wish to blame someone for the pain and loss
of our beautiful world.  Somehow, though,
I know that blame is not the answer. For simply, if there is not enough love,
compassion, or beauty in the world, then I will do everything I can for there
to be more, and not less.  This means
that I must undertake to see the beauty in all of life and in the whole. This
includes we humans.  We need us all at
the table so we can nourish one another, so that the earth and all her beings
may flourish. 

simple message, but a most difficult one to follow through on.

So I
write here to gather us all together so that we might support one another
towards a more compassionate world - liberating ourselves as we liberate the
birds we love.

you Marc and Karen. For through your work, you give we humans the opportunity
to be who we are and were always supposed to be.

Marc Johnson, Karen Windsor, and Friends