Earth’s Dream

Sometimes, when I put my ear against the acacia tree in my garden, Earth speaks to me, so I know for sure that she desperately needs a vacation, but she took a vow a looong time ago and she cares too much about her duty to allow herself to take a break. She promised to carry us, to feed us, to sustain us and she cannot abort her mission. She could, but she chooses to stay and fulfill the things she signed for, eons ago even though she is exhausted. All the pollution, the noises, the garbage, the negative thoughts and energy of people drain her life force away. She needs a holiday like plants need water to grow, like animals need air to breath, like humans need love to flourish, like my dog needs my foot to put his head on in order to fall asleep.

Knowing how desperately Earth needs a break and knowing that she chooses to stay, we might respect her for that decision and make her life a bit easier, her duties a bit lighter. We can do that. It is not that hard. For start, I’ll drive my car less and also, I won’t use the hairdryer anymore. I’ll let the wind do that job. He is so fun: he sometimes puts dandelion seeds in my hair, and, in spring, he leaves my hair perfumed with lily scent, and he always whispers all kind of secrets from around the world in my year. Yup… the wind is a playful one. I love him.

Meanwhile, Earth can, at least, dream of a weekend on a beach, away from everything and everyone, only she, and the stars, and the ocean. Not so far away, in Andromeda Galaxy, there is a cosmic ocean with a delightful cosmic beach where only planets are allowed, but Earth wasn’t there for some time and, as I know her, she won’t go there too soon. She’s too responsible. But she can dream. And while she dreams, we can make her life easier. It’s the least we can do.

I’ve tried to reproduce the Earth’s dream as she whispered it to me. I don’t know if it is totally accurate, but I did my best so other people can find out about it.

The Lady With The Bird Feeder Hat

During the cold season things get harder for the wild birds, food is sparse, weather is cold. Many birds that enter the winter won’t see the spring sun again. Some will die of starvation, some of cold, some of broken heart. [And that is not a joke. It is said that some birds (like parrots, parakeets, cockatiel, to name a few) can die of broken heart.] Being aware of the hardships of winter for the wild life and knowing that we, humans, do many bad things to nature through our actions, I thought I might do something good, for a change. I have formed a new habit and started to feed the birds in my yard every winter. Over the years, they have multiplied so much that now it seems like all the birds in town are feeding in my garden. 🙂 They heard that there’s a lady somewhere in town who doesn’t have any other job than to fill and refill several bird-feeders a day. And birds talk. And they are not selfish. If one finds food, she tells the others, which tell the others and so on. It happened just like that in my case, too. The birds spread the word until my yard was bird-full and I had to buy more bird feeders and, of course, more food. Also, I had to diversify it, as more bird species came and some of them had a different diet. Therefore, besides seeds, I had to start feeding them fruits, and dry worms, and bacon, and what not! And if, God forbid, I forget to refill the bird-feeders, the army of birds send their messengers at my window to notify me about my unforgivable mistake and they chirp and flutter their wings at my window and, sometimes, they knock with their beaks in the glass until I finally understand what is going on and go out and fulfill my duty. At last!

There are voices telling me that by feeding the birds I interfere with nature and I mess up their habits. While that might be true, at some extent, it is also true that we harm nature and, implicitly the birds, in so many ways and we don’t think about that too much or at all. Polluting the planet, destroying their habitat by cutting the forests, imprisoning the birds by making them our pets and so on are overseen by so many, therefore, feeding my winged friends is the least I can do to counteract the negative impact on the bird populations due to man irresponsible actions. In an ideal world, I’d probably let the nature just be, but in this society, I feel like I had to do something, a little bit, to restore the frail balance of nature.

Besides feeding the birds in my yard, I, also, stuff my bag with bird food every time I go shopping or just for a walk in town, just in case I happen to meet some lost hungry birds that haven’t heard yet about my bird-heaven-yard and they are starving somewhere, in the cold winter.

Being like I am, I often think it would be extremely nice to have a bird-feeder winter hat, so I can easily feed the birds wherever I go, whenever I go and, with this dream-wish in my head, this painting came to life! And who knows, I might build myself the hat someday and wear it during the cold season. I know for sure that the birds would be absolutely delighted; and so would be the people in my city … but for entirely different reasons! 🙂

This is one of the images that inspired my piece: my army of sparrows that I see from my kitchen window while they are eating in my yard.

You Are Safe

This piece is a tribute to all the parrot species that are on the brink of extinction due to humans altering their habitat and due to parrot trafficking.

The inspiration for this piece came after a visit to a pet shop from last week.

A man who was buying a parrot asked the saleswoman if he had any warranty for the bird since it didn’t look that well, at least so it seemed to him and he was concerned for his money (not so much for the poor bird). The woman answered that he had one week warranty and if anything happened to the parrot during that period, he could bring it back (dead or alive) and he would got a refund. All the conversation sounded so insensitive to me. It was like they were talking not about a living soul, but about an electronic device or something. That hit me hard! I’ve realized once more the importance of things in our society. We came so far since the beginning of human kind but we still have a long way ahead! Unfortunately, speciesism is still a fact in today’s society for most of the people. For me, we are all (humans, animals, plants, everything) of the same importance (or no importance, as you like) in the big scheme of things.

After the little incident from the pet shop, having my soul filled with compassion for the innocent little bird, I did some researches about parrots and found out that they are thought to be some of the smartest non-human beings on our planet. They are as smart as a 3-4 year old human child, being able to solve puzzles and understanding the concept of cause and effect.

Unique fact in birds’ kingdom: Parrots are the only birds that can lift food to their beaks using their feet.

But what I like most about parrots is the fact that they are, with few exceptions, monogamous (well…I’m a romantic, what can I say?) and spend their lives with only one mate forming strong bonds and remaining together during the nonbreeding season, too.

One thing led to another and I’d started reading about parrot trafficking and found out many disturbing facts!

Blue Macaw, the parrot that inspired “Rio”, is now officially extinct in the wild due to deforestation and trafficking. And so are many other birds especially in the South America and Brazil.

For my piece I have chosen to paint a Hyacinth Macaw, another wonderful endangered species. He is called “the parrot king” and he is one of the most trafficked birds. Trade in wild hyacinth macaws is strictly prohibited and one can only sells captivity born birds. Breeders do that by selling them with 10000 $ per piece at least. At the same time, as hyacinth macaw fails constantly to reproduce in captivity, breeders encourage egg trafficking. Egg smuggling is a growing crime because eggs are easier to smuggle than live birds—they’re small, don’t make noisy birdcalls, and if a luggage inspection is anticipated, they’re easily destroyed (National Geographic). People adapt fast when it comes to thrive at another species expense. People adapt in many situations, actually. This is how we reach so far in our evolutionary path. But nowadays, it seems like it is imperative to exercise our adaptation capacity in a different way then we did before, to be more careful with every step, every decision we make or it could be the last one.

Let’s start by being more conscious about Hyacinth Macaw and all the beautiful (and ugly) parrots and by being more aware of the fact that when we buy a parrot (or any other bird), we actually, might contribute to its extinction. And a world without parrots would be a less beautiful one!