I’m lucky to live only blocks away from an unspoiled piece of nature, where a pond-side bench lets me sit and enjoy a big cup of coffee and a plastic-tipped cigar.
From this vantage point, my mind wanders freely. I often reminisce of my childhood, where in every season and at every age I spent time here.
Nowadays, I smoke my cigars and admire the brilliant beauty of the swans on the pond. Here, there is peace. But any tranquility I feel is replaced with indignation when I think of what I’ve recently learned: that the swans are to be slaughtered if the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation goes ahead with its latest management plan. This plan seeks to eradicate the species from the state by 2025.
What’s the reasoning for this possible genocide? Well, the State’s rationale falls mostly under the fact that the Mute Swan has been deemed an “invasive species.” In other words, in the eyes of the State, there are too many of them breeding successfully.
I find this absurd, since I never come across so many that I would ever think anything except we’re lucky to have the ones that we do. These magnificent symbols of peace, who usually mate for life, are one of the last remaining wildlife species able to thrive in our polluted waters; waters so contaminated, the State warns against letting dogs near them because of the deadly bacteria they contain; waters that are actually most easily monitored by having a sentinel species, like the Mute Swan, present for testing. And the state wants to kill them all?
It’s modern madness.
I think the greatest treasure we’ve lost within the modern struggle is our cultural appreciation and intimate individual connection to nature. Because of this loss, we’ve become very sick. The governing bodies now operating in our name do so with soul-less machination. We must reclaim them and right this ship. Humanity must come to terms with what it means to be part of the whole of creation and return to our roots as caretakers, rather than takers.
We’ve fenced off the soul of the world too long not to have it push up its back on us.
The growing trend to use brutality and decimation toward any living being or thing it considers “invasive” is a symptom of this madness; a reflection of collective psychosis by powerful entities who, under the spell of the dollar sign, see demons on every waterway. This sickness embraces the use of mass killing and heavy-handed chemical management as the only means for our survival, when really it is the cause of the vast environmental pathologies that so threaten us. We are stuck in a cycle of always masking and attacking the symptoms, rather than allowing for a cure.
If we participate with nature, rather than demonize it; if we submit to its wisdom, meet it halfway and love it as we should, we will build up the health of the whole system and find balance for all its species. If we do not, we will suffer and perish for it.
Please contact your politicians and sign the online petitions to stop this senseless slaughter. Then, go visit with the swans and encounter the great spirit within.