Briefly off topic, but I want to share my annual December 8th tradition of remembering John Lennon. His assassination in 1980 left me shaken. I was 12 when it happened, at the height of my "Beatlemania." In reality, that "height" has been more of a permanent plateau than a temporary spike, The Beatles remain among my all-time favorites (later joined by Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, and a couple of others).
The real impact came from the fact it happened on my birthday, obviously inflicting a measure of sadness during what is a time to celebrate. Over the years I've come to think of the anniversary of John's assassination less as a morbid and sad occurrence, though it clearly is, but a heartening one in that his ideals and causes live on. That can't be said about everyone. John joined a prominent group that includes naturalists and conservationists like John James Audubon, Roger Tory Peterson and Aldo Leopold (among many others). Sure, different causes and ideals, but alike in that they've left a legacy to inspire and build upon.
I finally made it to Strawberry Fields, a memorial to John in Central Park, in December 2001. Coincidentally it was shortly after George Harrison died (I must be cursed). To include some semblance of birding here I will admit to paying attention to the birds, hoping for some sign or totem. We found the usual Central Park chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, Rock Pigeon, starlings, crows, jays, Canada Geese, and Mallards, as well as a Red-tailed Hawk (not Pale Male, maybe a mate or descendant?) and Hermit Thrush. Maybe there's meaning in there. Or maybe it just is.
So, if you hear radio and television take a moment to remember John today I hope you'll join them.
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