Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Old man tells birds to make like a tree, they leave

With all the recent news coverage of Chicago banning pigeon racing and Oprah's private jet hitting a bird (Tribune's online headline: Oprah OK after jet hits bird), I've been on the lookout for birds, so this Associated Press story caught my eye: Mystery birdman chases off towns' unwanted flocks.

There's this 83-year-old bird-control specialist that somehow, secretly gets rid of troublesome birds in central Illinois towns such as Decatur, Bloomington, Springfield, and Joliet. He won't say how, but he can get rid of starlings, crows, and blackbirds without using guns, weapons, traps, lights, sounds, or smells.

What's his secret? I don't know, but I'm willing to bet it's magic. Or at least what we might refer to as magic these days.

The birdman reminds me of a character in Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits. In that novel, Old Pedro is able to do with his form of magic what modern man cannot with the latest advances: First, after a gringo chemist with knowledge and "an arsenal of tools" fails, Old Pedro is able to shoo off a plague of ants by simply asking them to leave. Later, when the main character, Esteban Trueba, is crushed in the rubble of his house following an earthquake, Old Pedro fixes the patron's broken bones with prayer and a healing touch.

Allende shows that modern man has lost a connection with nature that our ancestors had. Technology, science, and medicine may help us live longer, but we don't necessarily live better. When the birdman of central Illinois eventually retires or dies, his form of magic will most likely disappear with him, as Old Pedro's did. We'll be left to invent new devices, to build a better mousetrap (or bird trap or ant trap), and to wonder why we can't control or even understand nature.

1 Comments:

Blogger Marley6 said...

maybe they should try watching 'Ben' for ideas.

8:51 AM  

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