Read alsoAround the World in Ten Days
In 1920 the idea of going around the world in ten days was as preposterous as that projected by Jules Verne in 1873 when he wrote Around the World in Eighty Days. But time has a way of hurling ridicule back as effectively as a boomerang. For we have seen and marvelled at the shattering not only of the mythical eighty-day record but even the…
Their songs and calls are harsh and sharp; they nest in small trees with a clutch of one to seven eggs. Long, keel-shaped tails immediately signal their presence. Bird-watchers usually ignore grackles.
In our story, Gregory Grackle is young, rebellious and eager to move a renegade band of grackles to nearby farmland suitable for food and shelter. His sister Greta, more cautious, wants a safe environment for their family and their flock.
Their parents, Ma and Pa Grackle, want to stay where they are, and support the virtues of regaining, then restoring, their historic land.
Local marshes and hilly scrubland provided sustenance for several generations of grackles. People swooped in to build a huge shopping mall, and a waste management company created an overpowering garbage dump, both of which led to life-and-death issues for the grackles. Worms and insects lived untouched beneath the mall’s imposing concrete buildings and parking lots, while huge vultures, overly- nourished crows and diving hawks nibbled at will on the festering dumpsite. The smaller grackles couldn’t compete.
Squeezed both by nature and by humans, the grackles remain rooted, if not stuck, in their familiar landscape, short trees and telephone wires near the mall, and pond and streams near the dump, with its lethal methane gas. Malnutrition and disease spread slowly among the flock, magnifying their sense of damaged self-esteem.
Internal disputes between the older and younger generations further intensify the grackles’ plight and their need for intervention. If not divine help, at least some enlightened decisions must be taken.
Finally, they execute a powerful move, in the dead of the night, shifting all the garbage to a recycling center. Bravery and cooperation lead to a successful conclusion as the grackles return to feeding at the redeveloped dumpsite, where verdant grass, trees and bushes reemerge, once again.
The grackles keep their land and the human environment is better off for it. These little blackbirds inspire us to stay green in order for life to survive on our planet. The grackles aren’t an endangered species yet, but human beings are! Their triumph is one of resilience, persistence, but most of all, hope.