Nature Notes: The call

Nature Notes: The call

For lots of folks, the lonesome wail of a loon drifting across an early morning misty lake is the very sound of wildlife itself and wilderness still alive. Others hear the distant bugle of an elk, and they are fairly transported by that sound to images which connect them to the elk herds of the deep forest and grassy meadows.

The overhead chorus of Canadian geese may be the best music on the planet and far and away the most healthy. If ever there was a meditative, mood-soothing sound, then the distant call of geese families must be it.

Whatever your favorite choice of nature's wide array of connecting sounds may be, frogs in the evening twilight, the old and reassuring call of owls from high in the tree canopy, or the raucous call of seagulls as much a portrait of the seashore as any postcard, these sounds are central to our spiritual health.

Of course, the biggest and brightest call around is the call of the ocean. Our souls find it before we are even aware of our need. We find ourselves easily walking toward it, as if we were walking to the house of an old friend. Worn steps traversing familiar ground, the path to the ocean's call is the most widely traveled of all humankind's paths. There must be a reason.

But for all of this, we, you and I and all of the rest of us here in America and beyond, are perched on the edge of a decision that may decide the fate and indeed the very existence of many of our favorite wild calls.

We are still somewhat of a free people, and we still have somewhat of a choice about who we choose to speak for us and who we choose to give the power to make life or death decisions over this fragile planet. If we as a people who love this country hand over the power to one political party which will then have no system of checks and balances having any real meaning, then we are inviting an irreversible disaster. A disaster on our economy, a disaster on our moral fiber as a peaceful country, and a disaster on our fabulous wild places and our most beautiful and treasured wild creatures.

In the upcoming elections in this country we must choose to maintain some balance in our system, and if we allow that balance to get away from us, if Congress is ruled by the Republican party which is ruled by a Republican White House which has an agenda of world domination, endless warfare and a systematic gutting of all of the safeguards of our environment, well then, the loons will be gone forever, the frogs will not be there to sing to the moon and the elk will be a memory to match that of a forest of old growth trees gone forever.

If we don't oppose them with our votes, the Republicans will have their way on every single issue, and all they will do is rubber stamp everything that this power hungry, environment-bashing administration could have ever dreamt of doing.

The drilling of the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (it's a refuge remember?), will be their very first act if we allow them. We owe this to our children and their children beyond to not allow this arrogant disregard to happen.

The answer is simple: VOTE! Call, write, e-mail everyone you can think of and get them to get out and vote. If you can, drive someone to the polls who may not otherwise vote.

Of all the things we will do in this life, we must stop the take that looms directly in front of us in a week's time. Remember that loon, because only you can save her! Otherwise, what's the point?

Craig Sparks is director of NAWA and has fought for the rights of Wildlife for over thirty years. Found injured wildlife? Questions? Call NAWA at 665-3595 or e-mail to

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