Will This Be a Silent Spring? The Death of Two Robins

April 9, 2007

Will This Be a Silent Spring? The Death of Two Robins
Indiana Writers Group column for release April 11 and thereafter

By German Cruz

Two male robins were found dead in my back yard. A tragic and rare event that begs some sort of explanation to comfort our grieving hearts.

Was it global warming that caused them to abandon their winter home in Texas to return among us only to be beaten by the snow and unexpectedly low temperatures? Was it the power of fermented crabapple fruit that rendered them too numb to survive? Were these underage robins seduced by weak notions of robin maleness and indulged in self-destructive acts? Were they naive young robins caught in a cultural web of irresponsible behavior caused by pornographic stimuli and bad hip-hop? Were they victims of obesity caused by blocks of trans-fat stuck in trees throughout our community? Were there hawks involved?

The answers are few.

The sad fact is that two young male robins are now lost to their families and our community. How many more will perish? What would be the ultimate price of our indifference? Certainly, the time is ripe for strong measures before a dead robin crisis consumes our community.

What can we do?

We need to appoint a multi-partisan commission to address the young male robin problem before young female robins are swept away to equal or worse fate. Beyond the orthodoxy of useless political morés or the sclerosis of a vitiated culture of confrontation, there is the hope of a new convergence for the common good.

There is need for transparent and effective approaches.

For example, we need to undertake emergency construction of suitable robin shelters in every back yard. Places where young robins can feel safe and affirmed. Moreover, our legislative delegation can propose and advance adoption of an Act for the Protection of Robins that will guarantee that nevermore shall robins in Indiana be exposed to the vagaries of weather theories or the rapacity of hawks and cats.

Perhaps, Ball State University can develop a Robin Studies curriculum that will support immersive and re-defining teaching, service and scholarship on robin culture and its derivatives. Along these lines, the Modern Language Department might offer courses in robin language skills and the English Department can explore the far edges of robin narratives and travel diaries.

It might even be possible to find a wealthy robin lover that will endow a chair or a perch at the College of Architecture and Planning to serve as an affirmation of our concern and resolution to do something of consequence with consistency to make robin life more meaningful in better designed communities. Research on more nutritious varieties of earthworms can be conducted at the Robin Nutrition Center in Cooper Hall and a Robin Welcome Center with library and museum can be developed in Christy Woods with ancillary facilities at Heath Farms, Cooper Prairie and Craddock Wetlands.

Exchange programs with robins in Texas and Northern Mexico can provide exciting opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue that can inform our sociological understanding of Turdus migratorious populations at various historical junctions in the culture and settlement of the southwest.

There can be great opportunities for local economic development. Muncie and Delaware County entrepreneurs can profit from robin awareness by producing robin ribbons to be stuck on all cars. A robin Internet resource center can reach all points of the planet and independent robin news broadcasting services can deliver fresh and chirpy news and commentary beyond the bypass.

There is much that can be done with imagination and confident joy to embrace a better future, or we can do nothing and the death of a couple of young male robins will amount to no more than a half pound of flesh and feathers buried in the back of a snow-covered yard somewhere in Muncie, the once-mighty industrial giant buried on the banks of the ever shrinking White River. Resurrection takes the power of creative force and the exercise of imagination without fear.

German Cruz, M.LA., is assistant professor of landscape architecture at Ball State University. A version of this essay has appeared in the Muncie Star.


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