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They rise in a cloud at dawn from the Arctic tundra of La Perouse Bay to ride the back draft of a cold front racing toward the Gulf of Mexico. Circling for altitude, clusters break away to form chevrons of miracles. Old birds, knowing well the aroma of Lacassine marshes 2,000 miles down the aerial highway, beat the path barking orders to youngsters who gabble amongst themselves in excited cries. On this voyage the secrets of survival are borne on snow-white wings dipped in midnight; remembrances of the past are wrapped in downy breasts. Bearing runes of creation in a genetic code that defies illumination, they fall from the welkin onto our wetlands as handsels from God.


As a species we humans are infamous for behavior not conducive to our own long-term well-being. Consider the frequency of wars, the unbridled depletion of earth’s finite resources, and the “me now” attitude of our consumptive society. There are, however, shining examples of far-sightedness in America, even in the halls of Congress. A prime example is the Wilderness Act of 1964. This law created a way to designate and protect a system of undeveloped lands called “wilderness areas” across the country. It states the places should be “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” It is America’s highest form of la


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