April 12, 2011

'I reduced my garbage by half'

Hearing this, I got filled with an amazing sense of positivism; almost instantly. We were on our way out for some weekend errands with another family here. And that's when the discussion on my blog came up. My good friend says she has been influenced by my blog and has made a few lifestyle changes as a result. What more could I ask for?

In a senior position with a private bank here, she has been following a particular lifestyle. She is on her toes at the crack of dawn until late evening, meeting her Corporate Sales targets. A networking expert, she is also the VP at a prominent networking organization here. So, weekly meetings there as well. Member at various foundations, she is also mother to two little girls and wife to a young entrepreneur. Time is never at her disposal. So, it was just incidental that she resorted to the convenience mantra as well.

She quit Microwave popcorn for good. She said NO to canned soup. I can imagine how hard it must be for her to take such a decision as her daughter loves these two things! Once she exhausted her disposable plates, she decided not to stock them in the shelves. Purchase of packaged juices got reduced drastically. And am sure the axe fell on many other habits as well. Who said Men are mere creatures of Habit? Will, they name is Man. You decide what will come into your house. You decide what to feed your children and what not to.

Waste not, Want not.
Rather Want not, Waste will be less or rather Nil.

I wish and hope more of us take charge of our lives. Boldly. And not just succumb to the vicious convenience circle. Just like what my good friend did. It calls for courage of conviction and the will to change.

Hearing from my good friend about the small lifestyle changes she has made, I feel encouraged to write more and share my posts with more friends. There are people out there who are willing to listen, to sit up and take notice. There are people who really show the way, like my good friend Alex. There are people who are really harbingers of green thinking. There are good folks who willingly make small lifestyle sacrifices. Better to light a candle than curse the darkness. Just like what these good souls have done! Cheers!

April 6, 2011

Living with a Sparrow!

Alexandar Matskevich. Marathon runner. Has run 64 Marathons. Avid traveller. Has been to 112 countries. Once a Musician and Journalist in the Soviet Russia and then for the last 30 years, an IT specialist in NY. Loves life and the living. He cares for the Earth in more ways than one. All meaningful and that which demand sacrifice. A very good friend of my better half for years now. More a brother to me in the way we share our sensitivities towards the environment. Lives with his Wife and Mother in Brooklyn, US.

Alex as he is lovingly called has influenced me to care more for the Earth. It will take a few posts to write about him. He inspires me to start a new section here where I could talk about Earth Warriors- if I could call them so. So, here I proudly present a snippet from my first Earth Warrior!

He happened to read my previous post about the Sparrow houses and then wrote the story of an unconditional love. Is it  just coincidental that I wrote about our selfishness to share our living spaces? How can you live with a Sparrow in your own house? Well, Alex does and he takes care of her as well. Here is his story below, unedited and straight from the heart.

Alex, unplugged; for you...

                                  (That is the lucky Sparrow who has made Alex's home hers!)

Unconditional Love
One warm day in May 2010, my mom, Hana and I were walking a block away from our home when we heard a very loud chirping. So much noise, oh no, not noise, of course, but rather beautiful music, was coming from a surprisingly little bundle of feathers and fur sitting on a sidewalk in front of us. A little sparrow! I guess he fell from his nest, or maybe he was kicked out by parents for whatever reason, or no reason whatsoever. I have to admit that I am usually not too good in catching live creatures like roaches (before throwing them gently into the grass outside of our windows). Or - catching sparrows. I am afraid to smash them by accident, or to break their legs, God forbid. So Hana went into action, and moments later a tiny sparrow was in her hands, and we were on our fast way home with a new temporary tenant.
It is not my first rescue of a little sparrow. The goal is to feed them, to teach them to fly, and a few weeks later to release them into the Life of Freedom. Not every rescue operation ends well. Sometimes, a bird doesn’t survive even her very first hour at home, probably due to malnourishment or some internal illness, sometimes she never learns to fly, as happened once when the sparrow lived with me until he passed away a year later, probably from a heart failure common for sparrows. We hoped that we would succeed this time and free the bird soon. Well, doesn’t look like we ever will.
A year after his rescue, things are not looking too well. Oh, may I change “his rescue” to “her rescue”? I have an intuitive feeling that it is a girl, probably based on her moodiness and her at times quite irrational behavior. Of course, we try to take a good care of her, providing her with all she may need, except freedom and ability to live with other sparrows. Obviously, she is free now, not in cage, God forbid, but I realize our apartment became for her a Golden Cage.  She lives in our computer room, where she has an “upstairs apartment” at the window sill with three plants, and a “downstairs apartment” also known as a floor, with many more plants. Even a small change in the room or in our clothes (she hates the red color) scares her. How could she survive outside? She would probably die of a heart failure by the time we reach the lobby of our building on our way out with her.
What may be even more important, her flying abilities are quite limited. She can, with an effort, make a circle around the room, or she can fly from the floor to the window, but… not from the window to the floor. She just simply refuses to fly down. Once in a while she looks like she wants to fly down, comes to an edge of a window sill and looks down with an open mouth. At those times her facial expression is nothing less than hilarious, as if saying “Oh my God, no way, I can’t do it!”
But she has to go down at least sometimes, to take a bath in a little plastic “bathtub” for which there is no space “upstairs”, near the window. There is only one way to bring her down – to catch her. She doesn’t like it. She can eat daily her favorite lettuce from my hands, angrily biting my fingers if I don’t hold lettuce the absolutely right way, whatever it is to her. But other than eating from my hands, she doesn’t want me to handle her. She chirps angrily when I gently grab her and quickly bring her down to the floor next to her bathtub.
Amazingly, as soon as she sees the bathtub and hears my traditionally cheerful “It’s shower time!” she changes her angry mood to a playful one and jumps into a bathtub. At that moment she doesn’t even object that I tap my finger into her bathtub making waves – she likes waves while taking her bath! She gets immersed so much into this activity that she is OK accidentally touching my wave-making finger with her wings and even her beak.
I can’t even describe that feeling of an absolute happiness watching a little bird energetically shaking her head and body in the bath just inches from your face and making you all wet with her splashes. Or sitting at the computer and listening to her loud singing and chirping. She usually starts the concert soon after sunrise, and I wake up daily to the most beautiful bird song in the world. It is the most beautiful indeed because looking at our bird and hearing her singing I feel… an unconditional love!  

It must be beautiful to wake up to the chirping of the Sparrow. I salute Alex! May his tribe increase and continue to inspire souls around!