The Penultimate Travelers- the Furred, Feathered, and Finned

Travel for humans, for the most part, is a lifestyle choice.  We travel the earth to seek &fall experience, new destinations that pull on our hearts.  But humans aren’t the only travelers on this planet.  When it comes down to it, we are totally put to shame by those in the animal world where travel is mandatory.  For many, the mysterious urge of migration calls some of the earth’s smallest inhabitants to take journeys unfathomable to our minds.arctic-tern-1249243_1920

  • Consider the Arctic Tern who flies from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back every year.  Monarch butterflies fly thousands of miles through several generations from regions throughout Canada to one small mountaintop in Mexico to spend the winter.  Pacific salmonsalmon-273062_1920 are born in mountain streams and swim down to the open ocean only to return years later.  They travel the hundreds of miles to that very spot where they hatched, to reproduce, & subsequently die.  The pull of migration affects tiny hummingbirds, whales, caribou, wildebeest & many other species too numerous to name.

butterflies-807551_1920As a trained naturalist, and as I ponder my own motivations for travel,  I wonder what it must be like for one of these creatures when one day, they wake up and its time for them to leave?  What do they experience when often they must depart the only place they have every known to embark on an unfathomable journey of such physical magnitude?

I wrote this poem thinking of a bird during its first migration & what it might be like….

 

 FIRST MIGRATION

A sliver of a moon

Shimmered off my left shoulder

As we pumped our wings

Rhythmically, silently

Through the darkness of the frigid night.

The urge unexplained

Tugged on my soul

& led me onward, North

Guided by stars

And the pull of the earth.

leaving the familiar behind

An unknown destiny awaiting.

I revel in the freedom of flight

Trusting the whispers from deep within

I follow the others to a foreign land

On a course mapped by generations before me.

canada-geese-575262_1920

 

 

6 thoughts on “The Penultimate Travelers- the Furred, Feathered, and Finned

  1. This post reminded me so much of a migration I took 30 years ago from TN to MI trying to flee an unhealthy environment only to find love and support here. I never migrated back! 🙂 I had never thought of that move as a migration, but it was. And now the children of that love and support have migrated to all over the planet – literally, one in Seattle, one in Denver, one in Atlanta, and one in Frankfurt, Germany. I so appreciate this perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always tell people I am like a salmon, born in Oregon, down to California, up to Alaska, and 27 years ago back to Oregon, my final destination. This has been my migration- a full circle. It feels right.

      Liked by 1 person

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