Shorebird migration in California

Snowy Egret with Shorebird Flyby

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

These shorebird peeps, passing through and reflected in stillness like the egret, may be on their way to my old home of Washington and beyond. Thousands upon thousands of shorebirds leave their wintering grounds, and make their way north on the Pacific Flyway. They stop along mud flats, in estuaries, hugging the coast between Central America and the tundra, with hundreds of places in between. They land to rest, and feed, and dig up mud worms. And they huddle in awesome, burbling masses at famous stopovers like Grays Harbor, before traveling even farther to nest and raise their young.

With the global news so sad and grim right now, it’s bittersweet to find such beauty, as I did when I came upon this tableau today. My parents and family came as refugees from Latvia in the Baltics, so the regional and historical strife of the Soviet and Russian invasions is embedded in our personal history, in a most traumatic way. I never met my maternal grandfather and aunt, lost to the horrors of war and to the Soviets.

There is obviously much despair in the violence of today’s news. Nature is what gives me a morsel of hope when human malevolence overtakes. There’s a constancy in the natural cycles and connections which persist against all odds. We could learn so much from birds and wild animals, who live by the pulse and rhythm of the earth, in genuine balance with each other and with us, when we let them.

My heart is with Ukraine and all who are experiencing the trauma, so far from this reality right now. I hope for peace and justice and safety. ❤️

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