Friday, December 12, 2014

The Return of Wisdom...and Ultrarunning

Obviously the subject line is meant to have a double meaning: it's the physical return of a bird called Wisdom, as well as--perhaps--a return of wisdom by humans contemplating a process much bigger and older than ourselves.

From the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a feel-good story:

Wisdom, the world’s oldest living, banded, wild bird has returned to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge! Wisdom’s mate has been waiting within a few feet of the pair’s former nest site since November 19. Wisdom was first spotted on November 22. This isn’t the first time these two have readied their nest. Laysan albatrosses mate for life and Wisdom has raised between 30 to 35 chicks since being banded in 1956 at an estimated age of 5.  Laying only one egg per year, a breeding albatross will spend a tiring 365 days incubating and raising a chick.

Now, I seriously doubt that there are any Ultras run on Midway, but it's the spirit of things like this that so captivate we who like to run in the backcountry.  We love the natural world but we understand it so incompletely.  Stories about a 63 year old albatross returning to nest yet again reaffirm to me the fact that things are somehow still OK, despite it all.

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