Mary Bilderback is a member of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. She has taught biology at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, New Jersey, for more than 25 years with the help of many poems. She continues to wonder how life can ever possibly hope to explain itself. She writes to pay attention.
I don't think we were meant to treat each other mindlessly — rats included. And on and on, up and down the great chain of beings. Oceans included. And all our wild, wet kin.
Everywhere, lying just beneath the surface of what can easily be reported and sensibly explained, some curious presence is reaching out to us — barefoot — as we reach out to it.
Poet Theodore Roethke calls worms the "intrepid scholars of the soil." For hundreds of millions of years they've sculpted Earth's hostile rock into forest floors and garden beds — laid out welcome mats with menus for strangers who would never breathe, or eat, or see, or think without them.
Amid habitat loss and diminishing biodiversity, I'm watching a new species evolve in a curious new habitat: the birds of Home Depot. Why does my heart ache when I hear them calling from the plastic shelves of paradise?