Why Rogue Sparrow?

This morning while walking with my dog, I thought about what I am doing on this blog venture.  Haven’t all the comments been made?  The witty observations been noted?  and the sharp commentary been written?  Well, yes.

And, no.   I haven’t made any comments, noted observations, or written anything online.  So I guess that’s what this is about.

In Rogue Sparrow I hope to create a space to write about my own epiphanies about gardening, life, and how-to.  I will note my own observations and make my own commentary. 

So, then, why “rogue sparrow”?  A story….

Several years ago, I worked in a vector control and surveillance lab.  One of the ongoing projects (that continues to this day) was wild bird surveillance on the local wildlife refuge.   The refuge would host a school day annually, when the neighboring elementary schools would bring students and the refuge could showcase the work they did–habitat restoration, wildlife walks, and the like.  We would set up a simulated banding station on these days so the kids could see some birds up close and learn about bird banding and surveillance.

On this particular day, we had sparrows in hand.  A school group came by to hear a short spiel by the refuge biologist about the bird project and its importance, and the kids got to pet the birds on their little heads and ask questions.  One boy, in maybe 4th grade, pipes up with a question.  This is the dialogue:

Kid: “So, what do you do when you have a rogue bird?”

Biologist Mike: “Huh?”

Kid: “You know, a rogue bird?  How do you handle it?”

Mike (looking at sparrow in his hand): “um…”

Kid: “I mean, if the bird starts pecking at you, and everything.  Do you bop it on the head?” (makes fists, punching gestures)

By now, the rest of us at the table are incredulous.  We’re peering at him, trying not to laugh, wondering what he’ll say.  I mean, really.  A rogue sparrow?  These birds weigh about 12 grams.  Mike manages to gracefully explain that we never hurt the birds, and the chaperone of the group finally herds them over to the next demonstration table.

My point is this: how disconnected are we, and our youth, from the world we live in?  What legacy does this leave for the future?  In my family, we use the term rogue sparrow as a joke.  I am a sparrow gone rogue.  I have chosen to leave a thankless, dead-end job, in order to live a different life.  Where once I embraced having the money to buy what I needed, now I gladly seize the challenge of creating–making jams, growing my own food, and sewing.  I am not a throwback, and I am not a romantic.  I am a rogue sparrow because I am bucking the trend, making my own path, going my own way.


About Ilana M Calvert

I have a Master's degree in Environmental Horticulture, but I spend my time pursuing fiber arts--weaving, knitting, and spinning. Occasionally I dabble in Scottish-style fiddle playing. Most importantly, I am a wife and a "mom" to a beautiful Great Dane.
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