Yellow Blog, Up High in Banana Tree

I love the beautiful world at night.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Birding his way through the war.

I stumbled across this blog and found it incredibly moving in a subtle way.

There is something so bittersweet about seeing pictures of a soldier tenderly holding little lizards (and one big lizard!) while at war in Iraq. I loved this picture of a bedraggled-looking White Wagtail perched on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman. It looks so wet and tired. What a beautiful photo.

I wondered, as I read, what his fellow soldiers thought about this man's obsession with birding in a war zone. The author answers this for me in an early entry (March 16th, 2004):

Birding on base doesn't usually elicit any undo attention from the MPs. I think everyone thinks I'm doing security work when I'm looking into the distance with binoculars. I'm not sure what they think when I'm looking up in a tree.

Birding makes you look like you're extra concerned about security, of course! This man must appear especially alert to potential tree-and-shallow-pond threats.

His last entry from Iraq made me cry (January 7th, 2005):

I have been blessed with the opportunity to be here, doing a mission that I believe in. Because of my job and the places that I ended up I had, perhaps, more opportunity to see and appreciate Iraq's natural world than some. One day I hope to return, with binoculars but without a weapon.

"Without a weapon," he says. Is that ever going to be possible? I hope so, I hope so, I hope so.

Please, let there be peace, soon.

This soldier is back in the States with his family, now. That fills me with relief. I love that he's posting information from other naturalist/soldiers in Iraq (including a "Captain Kate"). Isn't that great? I adore this blog, even if it breaks my heart a little.


  • At 1:42 PM, Blogger Chris said…

    I guess this also shows what crazy situations (like wars) people can find themselves in who are much like ourselves, and are unlike the many stereotypes we often cast them in.

  • At 3:31 PM, Blogger Kate said…

    Yes, exactly. I think I'd be just like this fellow, if I were in Iraq.


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