I was walking up Libe slope today. It seems like quite a small slope until you are late for a certain class and you have to find rush up the slope in the shortest amount of time without tiring yourself out. It is quite a challenge and it is one that I will have to conquer everyday as I will be living on West next semester. It is one of those rare times when I was able to walk around campus without any human distractions. I was sort of in a rush as I was about to be late for my drama rehearsal so I focused on my sore legs as I marched up the slope.
Breathing heavily, I noticed two people walking down the slope using the same path that I was on. As they got closer their conversation got louder. But I never actually paid attention to what they were saying, I was just aware of the fact that they were talking. As they walked past me, their voices slowly faded and I suddenly noticed another sound. It was a very clear and bright sound that resonated through this dry spring weather. It took me a while to process what I have actually heard, but eventually I realized it was the beautiful voice of a little bird. This got me excited. I started to look around, searching for the bird, looking at the various tree tops of the slope. I pretended I had sonar powers, using the bird’s song to exactly pinpoint its location. But after searching for it on three different tree tops, I gave up on my sonar powers, they were somehow not functioning today. I continued to search for this song bird and it seems the closer to the top of the slope I get, the louder the sound. At least I was walking in the right direction. By this time, I had forgotten how tired the slope had made me, the lactic acid from my legs seems to have disappeared, I was entirely focused on finding this bird. Once I made it up the slope, the sound of the bird got louder, and looking at the tree behind the Ezra Cornell statue, I found it sitting on top of the highest branch.
Under the setting Ithaca sun, the bird looked brown and medium sized. Although it was such a small animal, it was able to produce such a piercing sound that I heard its call from half way up the slope. I find this quite an amazing feat.
This made me realize something. We often forget about the great variety of animals that live with us on campus. Everyone is drowned by mountains of work everyday and in the few minutes we have to relax, we would often spend with our friends to catch up. This marginalizes us from the natural environment, slowly pushing us further and further away. Cornell has a huge biodiversity. From the falcon that flies onto campus now and then to the deer that storm the arts quad at night. We don’t notice them and often forget that they exist at all.
But this is not the real problem that people are facing nowadays. It is the fact that the education system has so marginalized the natural environment from elementary student’s education that most children do not even recognize or name the different vegetables and fruits that we all eat. As the future leaders of our countries, it is vital that they have a strong bond with nature, which will allow them to establish legislation that will protect mother nature and allow animals like that bird that I encountered today to sing on.