The hope of any generation lies in that which follows. It has nothing to do with today, nothing to do with us; it has everything to do with what comes after.
Even as its parent watches me closely, a juvenile monk parakeet (a.k.a. quaker parrot; Myiopsitta monachus) begs for attention, for a nibble of nourishment. Within that fledgling rests promise for a parent who may never see its child again.
Only a few steps from the footpath where so many people busy themselves without seeing it, this female river cooter (Pseudemys concinna) digs her nest and prepares to lay her eggs. A bower formed of trees and brush gives her cover, keeps her from all but the observant.
How I want to wait, to watch, to salve my soul with the beauty of her work. But the longer I stand, the more people who become curious. Hungry eyes fall on her, look in her direction.
So before the first egg rests in earthen slumber, I walk away. Several minutes I spend some distance along the trail so I can watch, feel certain no one returns.
The mother-to-be watches me closely as I retreat. Her task set before her, she will never realize the success or failure of her endeavor, instead burying within the soil her own impetus to survive and leaving the future to the whims of nature.
Cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) build their clay nests in every corner beneath the roof of a concrete pavilion.
Parents flit in and out of the structure, each returning to a nest with food, then checking the nest to ensure it’s clean and free of danger. A face looks out at me, an adult watching me as it tends to its children.
I see tiny faces and beaks agape when diligent parents return with food. Looking at me with consternation for my nearness, one makes clear my presence is an unwelcome concern when the future is at stake.