Tuesday, July 28, 2020

From Dust Were Ye Made and Dust Ye Shall Be

Sparrows were ubiquitous when I was very young, they nested in our garage, filled neighborhood trees and lent their rather tuneless chatter to the soundtrack of growing up middle class in middle America in the middle of the last century. 

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

You know, back when men were men, women were free to be women and even the below average children learned in school that America was good and communism was bad. Rather than the other way around.

Sparrows seem to have fallen into a bit of a decline for the time being. Suburban garages are mostly connected to the house now, their doors kept closed to discourage both thieves and wildlife from entering. And the trees, although still offering homes to robins, blue jays, cardinals and squirrels, no longer seem to shelter the scores of cheerful little sparrows they once did.  


They must live around shopping centers these days as I still see them congregating in parking lots and other public gathering places, scavenging crumbs left behind by thoughtless customers and careless patrons.

Sparrow decline has also been noted across Europe, most notably in Britain. Once considered a nuisance bird their numbers fell so precipitously in the 90s that scientists launched a study. They think the cause might be a parasite that causes avian malaria. Although researchers agree that this particular parasite has been around and effecting house sparrows forever their hypothesis for the recent increase in mortality is…climate change, of course. If it were me I would probably look closer at an increase in the number of parasites suddenly appearing on scene. But that’s just me.

Who will love a little Sparrow
Who's traveled far and cries for rest?
“Not I,” said the Oak Tree
“I won't share my branches with no sparrow's nest
And my blanket of leaves won't warm her cold breast”

Who will love a little Sparrow
And who will speak a kindly word?
“Not I,” said the Swan
“The entire idea is utterly absurd
I'd be laughed at and scorned if the other Swans heard”

And who will take pity in his heart
And who will feed a starving Sparrow?
“Not I,” said the Golden Wheat
“I would if I could, but I cannot, I know
I need all my grain to prosper and grow”

Who will love a little Sparrow?
Will no one write her eulogy?
“I will,” said the Earth
“For all I've created returns unto me
From dust were ye made and dust ye shall be”