A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I would do something I neglected to do all first semester—explore Boston. Since Copley is a well-known shopping district, I wanted to see if anything in the area interested me. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any stores that attracted me (or my wallet), so I walked away from the shopping area. After about ten minutes of walking, I saw a park with a small pond and was immediately drawn to it. As I approached the pond, I saw a flock of geese and ducks swimming on the surface of the water. The calm and gentle movements of the birds mesmerized me, and I stood there for minutes admiring the grace of their voyage to nowhere.
However, my joy did not last long. About ten minutes after I arrived, a middle-aged man walked up to the pond with a bag of bread. We acknowledged each other, then he proceeded to break the bread and throw the pieces at the birds. The calm and tranquil vibe of the scene immediately transformed as the ducks and geese frantically scrambled for the scraps of bread. Some even came ashore for a chance to get a piece.
After about five minutes, the bread was gone and the man left. I decided to stay for a few minutes to see if the birds would go back to their graceful gliding. Unfortunately, they did not. They continued to search for more bread. Some were still walking along the shore to see if there were any more scraps on the ground. I left a few minutes later and still saw some geese flying around the area, looking for more scraps.
For the rest of the day, that experience lingered in my head. I am not a hardcore animal activist, but I felt both sad and angry about what I witnessed. I didn’t like how the man disrupted the natural behavior of the birds, but felt like he was doing them a favor. I wished he could have observed the birds before his arrival; then he may have appreciated the beauty of undisturbed nature. Sadly, this man was not the first to feel the need to make his mark on a foreign territory. History is littered with stories of voyages to new lands and the “improvements” made to them—all at the expense of native inhabitants. The main thing I learned from that day at the pond is that it is not necessary to try to improve everything; some things are best left alone. So the next time you go to a park or natural space, appreciate it for what it is and please, don’t feed the birds.