Saturday, April 26, 2008


It’s still too early for “anthro-flowers,” those human creations which, after countless generations of breeding, would not be able to survive in the wild. They are prisoners of the human need to recreate the world in the way we want it to be. So we have to wait a few more weeks before we can go to the garden stores and get our annual fix of perennials and annuals. But in the meantime the real flowers have the spring to themselves. They appear as volunteers all over the forest floor and in nooks and corners in our yards, uninvited, but gladly welcomed as harbingers of spring.

Wild birds also remain free of human meddling, although many have become adapted to living with humans. The seagulls during the past few days have been feasting on small fish caught in nets during a study of fish populations in the river.

The European crows – huge birds with real attitudes – are seldom referred to without pejorative adjectives. The “harakas” is the stuff of legend and folklore, and behaves like he knows of his own importance.

The little birds are quite happy to have us live in this house. They know that most of the time they can come to the bird feeder and find a few sunflower seeds. The European chickadees (“rasvatihane”) with quite a bit more yellow on their breasts, are just as funny and entertaining as their cousins across the Atlantic. Their Estonian name translates as “fat tit” as in the American “titmouse”, and our visitor is obviously interested in the suet ball I put out for him.

An interesting characteristic of humans is our need to name things. So the wild flowers are not just pretty wild flowers, but they are “sinilill” (“blue flower”) or “kuld täht” (“gold star”), and certainly the visitor to the bird feeder is not just a bird, but a “rasvatihane”. This need to name wild things is perhaps our desire to own the world. If we name something, we somehow believe that we own it.

I wonder what the “harakas” call us?


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