Nature Footprint

I had just put out the food for the little creatures yesterday evening and stepped back at the top of the stairs to see who would be first to the party.

The nightly party-goers are the Raccoons and Possums and of course the family of Cardinals have been getting there first this past week. I also (for the first time) spotted a pair of Thrashers the other evening, so I was curious … and armed with my camera.

The first arrival this time turned out to be a wonderful Blue Jay and he grabbed a piece of english muffin and flew up into the old oak tree with it.

My lens managed to find him as he nibbled away at it and I hope you like the images at the end of this post. I could see the disappointment in his eyes as his treasure feel off the branch to the ground below, but he did go and retrieve it, by the way, so all ended happily. I also spotted a tiny mouse run over to the bowl of fruit loops and run away with a prize.

As I dropped the lens and headed back indoors, it was with a sense of pride that my little family of outdoor friends seems to be growing.

To a nature lover, this is a good feeling …. knowing that you are helping some poor little souls get a treat or two without having to forage in danger for it.

And this developed into today’s thought … clearly the sign of an idle brain lol

Anyway, the thought is along the lines of what we now are aware of as a carbon footprint, but I am extending the thought into what I am calling our Nature Footprint. This is effectively the mark we leave behind us in our interaction with nature.

Do we take from nature or give to nature? Is nature better off for our presence or worse off?

Hunters and fishers, polluters and spoilers ….. would all have a negative footprint by my calculations. Rescuers, teachers, feeders, and promoters would all have a positive one.

Beyond our own recognition, their is no real badge or medal of honor. But when we go to sleep at night, we do so in the knowledge that we have impacted some little creatures’s lives in a positive way.

It doesn’t really cost much (for me, I spend probably less than a pack of cigarettes a day to do so), but the impact can be significant. Probably the most rewarding for me personally has been witnessing the recovery of a badly injured Raccoon, as she ate daily from the buffet over a period of months. The other night I saw her climb away within the oak tree with a barely discernible limp as she disappeared into the lush greenery of the old oak. Morgan named her “Eve” and she has our love and admiration for making it!

I bear witness in awe at friends and family who have devoted countless hours and even sleepless nights rescuing tiny possum, raccoon, and squirrel babies that would otherwise die after the hunters and drivers decimate their parents.

I rejoice at the stories of success as these little babies gain maturity and health at no small human cost. And I see the biggest hearts I know beating proudly in their saviors’ chests as they speak of the rescues.

I recognize the wonderful payback these people experience in the unbounded love of a wild creature. A love that the hunters, fishers, polluters, and spoilers would never understand.

I shake my head at the loss of humanity that has evolved to where our natural instinct isn’t overwhelmingly to care for these helpless creatures and that part makes me sad. Sad for the creatures and sad for those of us that know no better.

So perhaps the main point I am trying to make is that developing your own positive Nature Footprint is not just something that would have a positive effect on the natural world around you, but by reflection would enhance your own inner sense of pride.

Take a step and leave something positive behind … wild creatures’ smiles are immeasurably rewarding.

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