Simple Life

A couple of weeks ago, I turned on my porch lights at sundown as I usually do. I noticed that the light on one side didn’t come on. I assumed the bulb was fused, and went to take it out, when I saw that the light sconce was full of twigs and leaves. Over the next few days, a tiny brown bird was seen by everyone frantically flying back and forth with more twigs and leaves. I figured I could do without the porch light till she had moved out.

This week she is still frantically flying back and forth, now with insects as big and wide as herself – dragonflies, beetles, cockroaches – there is no dearth of these in Florida. She shoves these down the throats of her three little babies, who set up a great chirring and screeing every time she nears the nest. Earlier this week there was a tragedy in the family. Marley, one of the inmates of my house, also known as the land shark by the neighbors, caught and ate the daddy, so the poor female has to do double duty with the feeding. If Marley the cat is successful in making the mommy his post lunch snack, the baby birds will not live either.
It is a simple thing – the lives of birds. And cats.

And then there is the oil spill. Our lives are not simple. We need oil. A company that provides us with that oil is capable of decimating an ocean, laying our coastline to waste, and bringing to their knees thousands of people who want and need that oil. And also of ending those simple lives of all the pelicans and turtles and crawfish and oysters and millions of creatures and plants in the path of that awful red tide.

I drive an oil guzzler. If I am not personally responsible for this particular disaster, I am at least aware that I do not live a simple life. I take more than I can ever give to this planet. I don’t have answers, or solutions, only questions. And regrets.

I shoo the cat away from under the nest in my porch light.

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10 Responses to “Simple Life”

  1. Bakul says:

    Isn’t the cat eating he bird less gruesome than an oil slick eating up marine life?

    • umi says:

      Yes, it is – in fact it isn’t gruesome at all. The cat’s intentions are very clear – he eats when he is hungry. We on the other hand… we destroy the planet.
      I didn’t want to use the word – but here it is: Greed.

      • WEll, I wish we could at least slightly blame BP, because if you watched the 60 minutes episode, their greed overwrote the cautious approach Transocean wanted to take by pouring ‘mud’ down the pipe to make certain the blow-out preventor, then compromised, was backed up. And why we aren’t doing a number of things including huge transport ships sucking up the oil? Je ne sais quois. xoxox

  2. padma says:

    At what point does need become greed?

  3. Joseph Hellweg says:

    And recently, a bioethicist at a Catholic hospital in Phoenix recommended that a nun who gave permission for an abortion to save the mother’s life be excommunicated. She was–promptly. Never mind that, as Alternet pointed out, not a single priest who has sexually abused children has been excommunicated. You’re right, people consume more than they need, out of greed–sexual, financial, theological, political. Need becomes greed when one decides that other people, or at least some, have no needs.

  4. Ashvin says:

    To use Gandhi’s oft repeated quote – ‘Live simply so that others may simply live’
    Easier said than done.

  5. Mithoo says:

    There are plenty of things we can all do: switch to LED lights, drive a fuel efficient car, use your AC less, get solar panels,and most important, get after your representative to stop subsidies to oil and coal…. put the money into solar and wind, and don’t listen to the crap they peddle about the technology not being ready. It’s there. Simple greed keeps the money pumping into oil and coal rather than solar and wind. Greed.

    • This woman knows what she is talking about – we can do some things, and we should. We don’t have to be vegetarian, but we can choose to eat meat that isn’t factory farmed – a steak once a month from a grazing steer rather than burgers every other day, for example, is better for them, and much better for us – immediately and in the long run.

  6. Ashvin says:

    To the common man in America, there is no choice but to use the gas he needs to go to work and get groceries. He is working, paying taxes(including road and gas taxes. He too, like the cat, eats when he is hungry. He cannot live next to his office, there are no good schools there. He cannot walk to the bus, it is not practical..

    Greed is bad and so is crime. We already have quite a few laws that regulate misuse of the eath by corporations – just enforce it. They have always figured out how to stay within the law and make money while providing you with things of value at a reasonable price. What happens when oil runs out ? If they want to make money, they will figure out another means. But pls don’t play into the hands of corrupt politicians and crony capitalists pushing for something stupid like electric cars ( worse foot print than ordinary cars), ethanol ( starves the poor) etc. There are somethings we can all do to save the earth -like being vegetarians. How many people do that?

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