Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hunting for what really matters

Watching this female Northern Harrier at Crockett Lake the other day I couldn’t stop thinking about why I am so happy.

It’s because I love living so close to nature.  The harrier glides effortlessly over the marsh, studying everything that moves. Watching such a specialized hunter relaxes and fascinates me.  It reminds me that we have much in common with our wild cousins. We all have a niche to fill and need wholesome places to live and hunt. We have a new generation to raise.  To survive, we must adapt and learn, pick our battles and focus on what really matters.

But everything comes with tradeoffs.  The price of a rural, island lifestyle is that we don’t have as much convenience – or stress -- as we did where we came from.  Prices are a little higher but the payback is priceless. That, to me, is "what really matters."

We locals love to say we support our small-town shops.  They provide jobs and tax revenue to strengthen our local economy.  They are a big part of what makes our communities distinctive, charming and vibrant.

So I was horrified when a friend told me of this conversation she overheard the other day in a local shop.

“I’m thinking about ordering this book,” a customer asked the bookshop owner. “Can you beat Amazon’s price?”

“Oh hi, Sis!” the owner said.  (Yes, it really was the owner’s sister.)  “Let me check.”  A moment later the owner explained, “I’ll be glad to order it for you but it’ll be about $2 more.”

“Oh, don’t bother,” her sister said. “I’ll order it from Amazon.”

Please think about the implications of this on several levels.

To get into the right mental frame for some clear thinking, may I suggest an hour with the harriers at Crockett Lake?