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Coexisting with our Fellow Birds and Other Creatures

Limpkin Camouflaged in Moss ©Lynne Buchanan
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I just uploaded some new photographs of birds and other creatures to my website at http://lynnebuchanan.com.  Some of the images will be featured in my upcoming exhibition, "On the Rivers of Florida: Lynne Buchanan's Photographic Meditations," which will be opening at the South Florida Museum on March 14th.  In preparation for the exhibition, I recently spoke with Justin Bloom, the head of Suncoast Waterkeeper http://www.facebook.com/Suncoastkeeper, and Ann Paul of Audubon Florida www.audubonofflorida.org.  Our conversations  made me reflect even more deeply upon our behavior with respect to the natural environment. Visiting wild areas is often very thrilling.  I see all kinds of animals and birds that I would not otherwise see, and I love to watch their innate behaviors.  In a way, it helps me regain touch with parts of myself that get buried living a hectic life in the 21st century.  It is my hope that raising public awareness of the beauty of our rivers will motivate people to preserve them.  Yet, many of these animals would probably much rather that we left them in peace and never entered their environments.  I do believe we can all coexist together if we tread lightly and keep a respectful distance, recognizing that we are just one being in an interconnected web of life.  Birds and other animals are beautiful in the way they interact with their habitats, camouflaging themselves amidst branches and moss, and needn't be flushed out to be appreciated.  If they happen to stretch their wings, or fly away unthreatened, that is always an added bonus for me.  I know I am going to paddle even softer the next time I go out in my kayak.

Instead of dominating the earth, I believe the earth teaches me as this Ute prayer so eloquently states:

Earth, Teach Me

Earth teach me quiet~as the grasses are still with new light.
Earth teach me suffering~as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility~as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring~ as mothers nurture their young.
Earth teach me limitation~as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom~as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance~as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth teach me renewal~as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself~as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness~as dry fields weep with rain.