Birds, Gas, and Politicians



Memoir of a Rural Sisyphus-Redux

Bill Engleson

For a few years, I kept a diary of my inauguration into the Denman Community. This column, recently renamed Memoir of a Rural Sisyphus-Redux, will

extract several of my observations from a dozen or so years ago and share them. Hopefully, they will have some modern times currency.

Birds, Gas, and Politicians

January 8, 2007

Something is afoot in the USA. A potent smell of natural gas is clinging to the New York air. It has floated into New Jersey. Half a dozen city dwellers are carried off to the hospital.

At the same time, birds are falling dead to the waiting earth in Austin, Texas. A large part of the downtown core is closed as officials try and determine what is happening.

Yesterday we took a winter walk to town. At the top of our drive, feathers littered a wide area. “Bird wars,” I suggested, perhaps frivolously.

When we returned, we spotted the carcass of a bird warrior. “There are probably others,” I hypothesized. “Perhaps buried under the blow down?”

I doubt there is any real connection between the foul vapors emanating from New York, the fowl expirations in Texas, and a couple of aggravated birds engaged in their own fight club in my back yard.

At least I pray there is no connection.

Still, as much as anyone, I am becoming more attuned to oddities in the environment. How fragile is the air, the sea, the land? Does it matter if Canada is green? Will an overly enthusiastic fanatic take a pot shot at Stephen Harper in the misguided belief that he is the only barrier to the survival of the species?

John Baird, the new Tory environment minister federally, comes across as a straight-ahead, no-nonsense guy. I believe that he is also the sort who will believe whatever he needs to believe, do whatever his job requires of him, to achieve his wayward political ends.

Like an actor in a role.

Baird is likely not a true believer, not someone who will collaborate to save the earth from our human transgressions.

If only birds could vote.