"Extravagance of desire is the fundamental cause which has led the world into its present predicament…..Humanity must stop indulging the desire for material possessions and personal gain and move instead towards spiritual awareness. Simply Serve Nature and All is Well" Masanobu Fukuoka
It was the time before the television and a time of innocence. My mother would send us outdoors with neighbourhood children on the block where we played in the fields behind our house. A row of willow trees stood along the North side of our front and side and backyard and there was a field beyond that as well. Across the street was a gravel road and ditches.
The grass was a deep green and the lawn was soft to walk on. It was in the fields with other children where we learned to love the natural world and delighted in the wonders of nature. My sister and her friend Kelly would collect tadpoles and frogs and Daddy long legs. There were so many monarch butterflies, magnificently large with dramatic bright orange and black colouring. We were enthralled by the bright yellow colour of the dandelion and even more with the seed heads which we loved to blow after making a wish. There were so many dragonflies and really I don't even remember mosquitos then…not like now. We played "hide and seek" and "it" and "statues" on the fields then down on our knees searching for the four leaved clover. At night, the crickets song intermingled with the croaks of frogs
I don't need any studies to tell me that the natural world has changed dramatically in and around Winnipeg during the last few decades. It is with a growing horror that I notice the lack of tadpoles, frogs, crickets, Monarch butterflies and robins on my own property and in the park behind it. And the ditches around Winnipeg are mostly devoid of cattails and normal marsh vegetation.
But most alarming is the blindness most people have for this loss. I believe these changes are "the canary in the coal mine". These changes are the harbingers of ecological disaster. And we need to take notice and yet most people I talk to about this seem unconcerned. It was then I realized how much we need to learn and to appreciate what we have. If we do value and treasure what nature offers then we have a chance to save what is left and in the end save ourselves.
So join me in this pursuit of knowledge, appreciation and gratitude
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Manitoba is where I was born and where I have spent most of the five and one half decades of my life. I lived on the outskirts of the town of Portage La Prairie at a time when tadpoles and frogs inhabited the ditches and ponds, when there were many Monarch butterflies each summer along with dragon flies and grasshoppers. Redwing blackbirds perched the cattails of the ditches. As children we picked dandelions for bouquets and made wishes before blowing dandelion seed heads. We searched clover for lucky four leaves and rolled on the grass…there was no concern of poisonous herbicides. The grass was thick. Wherever we dug…there were earthworms