Monday, May 4, 2009

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers 05/04/2009

This past weekend I had to good fortune to visit the Grand Canyon.  I have been there many times during my life in Arizona but found this visit wonderfully different from the others.

The view is always stunning….magnificent to be exact.  Luckily the weather permitted hiking, sightseeing and bird sightings that surpassed expectations.

As I left the canyon I reflected on one of the last times I was there.  It was the occasion of the first release of condors at the Vermilion Cliffs.  My memory, beyond the momentous occasion, was of the amazing difficulties that preceded the event.  I remembered how difficult it was for the “soldiers” who carried the banner to naysayers, frightened residents, worried agencies.  How scary….condors in their old digs…returned to their rightful homes.  It boiled down to fear of change, of the unknown, of something different or “new”. 

However, on this past Saturday in the Canyon it was all about condors.  Condors were everywhere on T shirts, hats, mugs, sides of vans, museums, books….you name it and someone was capitalizing on it!

On the Bright Angel trail where I was hiking there were regular updates by fellow hikers of all ages, races, nationalities announcing the sighting of condors over head or landing in a scrub tree just next to the trail.  This charismatic creature seems to have restored a gaping hole in the fabric of this bigger than life land form.  Only the condor could do that.  We owe such gratitude to the soldiers who succeeded in their mission towards this restoration.

Sometimes…no most of the time….embracing change is the most beneficial thing for all concerned.  The Canyon and the doubters in those early days, instead of being diminished or damaged as was feared, by the introduction of the Condor were made so very much better.

The up close sighting of that condor on the trail, that made everyone so electrified and engaged, supports my belief that animals in the landscape or that are easily available to onlookers do more good that a bazillion “virtual” animals….you can take this as just another plug for our wildlife ambassadors and the critical job they perform giving the public the opportunity to share the same space with grand beings.

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