September 12, 2004

Friday was the day of hawks and other predatory birds, as a member of a local raptor conservancy gave a demonstration with some of the birds she had raised from captivity: two hawks, an owl, a vulture, and a kestrel. The birds seemed reasonably familiar with audiences, and were tame enough to be flown from multiple perches to glove over a tight grouping of chairs even in the midst of a significant amount of casual distraction and several inviting open doors and windows. One in particular, apparently the oldest, seemed to enjoy discovering alternate perches: top of the divider, guy wires, ceiling ducts, people's heads. No stooping falcons in this mix, the building would have been far too low; so these instead swooped extremely low over people's hair in a sudden rush of wind as hawks do, feathers almost brushing faces and caps.

For two years in a row now, the agricultural fair has had absolutely clear skies and a non-sweltering sun, bringing out the people and the sunscreen and my continued amazement at existing in a world for which we have been evolved, but within which it is increasingly difficult to live in continued health without artificial aids.

But sidestep the rest of that musing, skip for here and now the constant awareness that human beings are no longer physically suited to the environment within which they live (or perhaps the inverse): not least since so very few of the conversations of which I am a part, be they however innocuous, manage to get very far without pulling in something wider. I am no longer used to celebrating birthdays, if indeed I ever was: but at the birthday gathering I had been invited to on the weekend the mention of coffee almost reflexively brought up the "fair trade" brands (and not by me!); Blue Mountain coffee brought up economics and weather; a vacation brought up free trade and embargoes.

If the inherent issues touch this very much self-centred crowd to this extent, it might be that they do in fact have some immediacy ... or it might be that issues of trade and environment are currently trendy, and thus embraced so long as they remain popular and the pursuit at minimal personal cost.

I think it might matter which ... but I suspect I might be outvoted: and we know that the majority is always right!

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