Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Habitat Destruction

I've been waking early on weekdays lately. No, change that to I've been woken early on weekdays recently. Our roads maintenance crew has been working on a large pipe-laying project, needing heavy earth-moving machinery. They begin before 7 each morning, about 350 feet from my bedroom. I sleep with a CPAP machine, so there's always a kind of airy, Darth Vader-ish noise in my sleep, but when they disturb my husband, it disturbs me from my reveries, too.

There's clanging, beeping and thudding. There are reverberating bangs and thumps felt through the ground. It's loud. The noises aren't always consistent, sometimes they're an unexpected shock like bashing on cymbals for dramatic effect, or setting off a cannon. It's unpleasant to wake up to, but we know that it's temporary. We know that we will be able to sleep in later on the weekend when the crew is off. We know that when the job is completed, we can wake peacefully each morning. 

I imagine what the clamor must be like for local wildlife. They don't have the knowledge that it's temporary, or that the workday day ends at 3:30 p.m. so there will be some quiet time each day to exist in peace and raise their young.

The squirrels, chipmunks and birds don't know what the excavation is about, and why it's being done. They don't know we're putting in a new water pipe for our community. All they know is that their habitat is being changed and disrupted. Their foraging area is being dug up, their carefully excavated dens are being destroyed, and their young are being disturbed by frightening noises. If I think the thuds and clangs of the metal buckets against rocks are loud and reverberating, what must it feel like to them? Like an ongoing series of earthquakes down in their ground burrows? How many insects have had their homes and offspring destroyed? How many breeding efforts this year have been affected?

The situation reminds me of the children's story Farewell to Shady Glade by Bill Peet, where the animals band together because of habitat destruction and move to a new location. His sentiments in this children's book moved me when I read it to my kids. Now, it's haunting.

Image result for farewell to shady glade

I just can't stop thinking about how frightening and disruptive this must be for all the wildlife, especially seeing as they don't have the knowledge that I do. The fear and alarm must be all-consuming. I wish I could tell them, let them know it's going to go away. That it will be okay in the end.

But will it?


Unknown said...

Oh, Debbie, I hear you. As you say, it is a necessary and temporary, disruption for the greater good. I, too, am waking to the sound of machinery. But this machinery is taking down timber on the property adjacent to us. It's a very large tract, acres and acres, are being denuded. This has been going on since March. It makes me heartsick.
I actually had a fleeting thought or chaining myself to a tree. Needless to say, I did not. And the cutting continues.

Your flower pictures are absolutely beautiful. Love your blog.

Deb said...

Thanks, Georgette, I appreciate your comments. I can't believe they're still taking down trees beside you - I remember you telling me about it months ago. That's a long time to endure that sound. Poor woodsy creatures!