OB023

The Robin's song

When we were building our house, a magpie robin chose to build its house inside our main electric box(no wiring had yet been done) and I had the great fortune of observing its life and style. The husband and wife were almost always chirpy and so completely talkative. They laid 3 eggs and 2 young ones hatched - we did not have much chance to observe the young ones as they were deep inside the nest. These honoured us with their presence for about 6 - 8 weeks I think( I did not keep track) and one fine day the chicks came out and could fly and within a few minutes the birds flew out and abandoned the nest. None of us were prepared for the sudden departure. During this period we were almost completing our house and moved in during the last 3 weeks of their nesting and what an eye-opener that was to me!

Their whole attitude and lifestyle made a very big mockery of my own pathetic attempts at living. The had an amazing, sustainable, self-reliant economy. I was dependent on my mason, carpenter, painter, electrician who all were dependent on their labourers and bought out industry products like cement, steel, pipes, switches and an infinite plethora of toxic, unsustainable and earth destroying items. My house costs me the equivalent of 5 years of my time (earnings in a mainstream job) - took me well over 18 months to build and is an eye sore against any natural scenery. Whereas the robin and his wife, built their house from scraps of twigs, leaves and other locally available items in less than 2 days. They were their own architects, engineers and masons as well as hired hands. Their house was non-polluting, requires no energy for upkeep and is a thing of beauty.

They manage their own medical needs, were very hygienic, and I think were well fed. Nor did they ever stop singing and prattling all through the time they were in our house. During the upbringing of the kids (who seemed to have an enormous appetite), the mom and pop brought in so many different insects and worms from around our house, hardly travelling more than a 100 m radius, and I was again ashamed of my own fears for my kids. They made no provisions for the next meal (with 2 growing kids) and yet they never went hungry - the world seemed so full of food. Many of the insects they captured, I have never seen them around our house - there were so many varieties of grasshoppers and worms and maggots and what not. When the chicks were still in the nest, I once saw a green snake in a near by tree and the robins defended their nest (I am sure the snake could never have come to their nest, it being deep in the house) with great vigor. I also saw them educating their chicks on how to forage for food, or catch grasshoppers.

So these two small birds had a small local economy which provided food, housing, medicare, hygiene, security, education and an enormous joy of living. It was a complete economy, as it was sustainable and also provided all the necessities of a wholesome living. All in a radius of 100 meters.

On the contrary, me, the so called intelligent human being with the sixth sense, am so completely decreipt and dependent on a huge central economy to provide me with all my needs. In return, I am willing to submit to so many laws laid down by other men, stomach insults and spend a majority of my life adjusting and working, in order that my life's needs may be supplied by the system. I pay for it with my time and freedom and even feel very happy about it! I toil very hard for some 30 years of prime life so that I may do a man's duty and bring up kids and pay mortagage and when I am old be counted as one of those honest building blocks of society - the family man.

As Thoreau wisely observed "Who knows but if men constructed their dwellings with their own hands, and provided food for themselves and families simply and honestly enough, the poetic faculty would be universally developed, as birds universally sing when they are so engaged? "

It is possible, not only possible but highly desirable, for every sensible human to become a robin and sing our own songs of freedom. A little melodious harmony, even if unheard, in some remote corner of the world may do more tangible good than a million discordant quarrels of mammon worship.


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