My heart broke the other day. My sister, brother-in-law and I were walking along a marina on Sequim Bay and a “hunter” showed us an old squaw duck, now called a Long Tailed Duck. He had “captured” and killed the duck that day so that he could have it stuffed and put on his wall to admire his handiwork. My heart was broken and in grief I was also very angry.
The picture above is from the internet, for in the wild I have never seen one, except for one now being stuffed. The Long Tailed Duck spends three to four times longer under water while foraging than on top of the water. It can dive up to 200 feet. In 2014 it was identified as a “Common Bird in Steep Decline,” and now there is one less in the wild.
At three a.m. the other morning I continued to lament the death of my sister Old Squaw or Long Tailed Duck. When one’s life is only centered in one’s self and one’s own desire, there is no connection with the rest of creation. “The wild” is only present for one’s pleasure, but if God is the Maker of my life and the Maker of the life of the old squaw duck, then we are connected in this same Creator God. I am to be the steward and caretaker of all of God’s creation, all the created order. All of creation is my sister and my brother.
St Francis understood our connection with all of creation through our Lord God. May we all come to love both God and all that God has made.
The Canticle of Sister Moon and Brother Sun St Francis
“Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord, All praise is Yours, all glory, all honour and all blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong, and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.
Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,
Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all weather’s moods,
by which You cherish all that You have made.
Praised be You my Lord through Sister Water,
So useful, humble, precious and pure.
Praised be You my Lord through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You my Lord through our Sister,
who sustains and governs us,
producing varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.
Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardon for love of You and bear sickness and trial.
Blessed are those who endure in peace, By You Most High, they will be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord through Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Blessed are they She finds doing Your Will.
No second death can do them harm. Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks,
And serve Him with great humility.”