"....The truth is out there."
-- Dr. Jerome Jackson, 2002 (... & Agent Fox Mulder)
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
"All truth passes through 3 stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."
-- Arthur Schopenhauer
Friday, July 11, 2008
-- Happy Anniversaries --
The end of this month marks at least two anniversaries:
1. the 3rd anniversary of the birth of this blog, little knowing what controversy was to follow :-))) and,
2. the 12th anniversary of the death of Roger Tory Peterson :-(((((
One of the above is pretty trifling so I'll only address the other: Roger Tory Peterson was clearly a hero to many in the birding and conservation communities, including folks at opposite poles of the IBWO controversy. I love Roger's art and field guides, but mostly I love his thoughtful approach to nature, and to sharing that knowledge and experience with others. Roger was always open to possibilities, and to new knowledge and understanding; he understood inherently, how easily what passes for human logic can be defied by Nature; how tenuous and subject-to-change our knowledge is. When others were dropping the Ivory-bill from their field guides, or relegating it to some special back section, he was still including it among the woodpeckers, perhaps signaling a narrow hope he held out. And he was among the last individuals to see Ivory-bills at Louisiana's Singer Tract back in the 1940's; his most thrilling birding moment. Next month, BTW, Houghton-Mifflin is issuing a newly-designed edition of his field guide which sounds great (here and here), so make room on your shelf for yet another.
Too bad Roger isn't alive today to witness the effort finally being put forth on behalf of this species, and add his two cents (more like ten dollars worth!). I could very well be wrong, but I like to think he's looking down from above, a blank canvas before him, paint-brush at-the-ready, waiting, watching over the searchers.... and smiling.
....for today's entertainment, a clip that isn't so much funny, as simply UNbelievable (this guy's a trained professional, or... insane; DON'T you kids try this at home):
BTW, Peterson may not have been as hopeful about the continued existence of the Ivory-bill as you might like to think. For example, the text of Peterson's 1980 (4th) edition states, "Very close to extinction, if, indeed, it still exists." And the illustration of the Ivory-bill in his 2002 (5th) edition is labeled with these cautionary words: "presumably extinct."
And certainly didn't mean to imply that Peterson was optimistic about the IBWO, only that he was willing to leave the door cracked open for it more than others. Space is always at a premium in a field guide, and yet he felt compelled to keep including it.
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