PINK FLAMINGOS

My neighbor has pink flamingos in her yard.  Not the feathery kind, but the plastic version stalking through the grass on thin metal spikes.  They’ve faded somewhat, looking a bit forlorn on her tidy Midwestern lawn.  And when I passed by yesterday, I swear they were crying out.

I shrugged it off.  Why would ersatz birds seek attention?   I continued down the street, thinking about the consequences of lawn decorations coming to life, wondering if they would seek revenge on their keepers, shredding them with sun-bleached plastic beaks and demanding better habitat than the Chem-lawn poisoned grasses that have etched holes in their aluminum legs. 

Would they laugh at us, prissy suburbanites hellbent on killing every living thing and replacing them with petro-chemical copies?  What would they think about lawn deer, lawn jockeys, plastic squirrels and chipmunks, garden gnomes and whirlygigs occupying the space that was once held by their living representatives?

As I mulled the possibilities, I crossed over the ditch that lamely passes for a creek in these parts.  How many of them crisscrossed this former wetland, draining off the land for eager Dutch farmers?  I remember the smell of their onion and cabbage fields in the summer air of my youth.  Now the fields are gone, replaced by tract housing and pest-free yards.  All the snakes, turtles, fox, beaver, racoon, songbirds and deer are crammed into tiny strips of land that border the waterways and interstates.

And I have been part of the great industrialization, the enormous paving-over of the land and its inhabitants.  Fifty plus years of having my way without any thought to the beings that share my space.

It made me feel ashamed.

Am I so special that all things must make way?  Is my species entitled to mastery over the earth because God declared it so, or does guilt make us seek justification? 

I wondered about the hierarchy of life that had been the mainstay of my Presbyterian upbringing.  Was human life really more valuable than the humble creatures that struggle without complaint to survive?  Have we misconstrued their silence as evidence of soullessness?  Or is their apparent lack of senience the reason we grant ourselves license to behave as gluttons.

What does it mean to have dominion over the earth and its creatures?  Stewardship?  Mastery?  I thought about the origin of the word dominus and what time and perception have done to it.   With lordship comes immense responsibility, not just entitlement.  A king might have first pick of money and resources but he does so because he is servant to his people, and in theory so busy with the task that he cannot look after himself.  

Strange how we remember only the perks and not the burdens of the office.  A master who has forgotten to shepherd because he is occupied taking the best for himself is no master, but a blight.

Advertisements

5 Responses to “PINK FLAMINGOS”

  1. This is excellent. A friend posted the link to it on their Multiply site, and I’ve done the same after following his and reading it.
    We humans seem to take our position so much for granted, with little thought for the havoc we cause… truly a selfish species, we are.

    • Thanks, doll! 🙂 I appreciate your kindness. Perhaps if we as a collective exercised a little more of it, we (and all the living beings around us) would fare better.

  2. Thought provoking read, thankyou..saw the link on Mousie’ page

  3. goldie513 Says:

    Amen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: