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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Field Note: The Farmer The Grain The Miller The Sea

Published: May 6, 2020

By Mark Seth Lender

The egret catches a mouthful of menhaden. (Photo: (c) Mark Seth Lender)

Living on Earth's Explorer in Residence, Mark Seth Lender, takes a moment to reflect on seeing the food chain of the Atlantic Ocean at work.

It is a rare thing for Nature to reveal herself, in the instant to stand in plain view. The details tell the unity of things. Young menhaden (in the patois of New England, “peanut bunker”) pouring out of the rivers and into Long Island Sound, striped bass and blues leaping and churning the surface, double-crested cormorants in close formation (one hundred thirty-eight of them in a single V), each kind making a set against the little fishes scattering across the bight or bright as silver coins jammed and tangled in the yellow-green of seaweed all along the rocks and the gulls diving down to the feast...

Enough young menhaden escape to continue their race. While those that are lost insure the hunters’ survival. It is miraculous. And yet, ordinary. Because that is what Nature unimpeded wants. Nature believes in there being a next time.

Back to Mark Seth Lender Field Notes


Hear the essay, "The Farmer The Grain The Miller The Sea"

Mark Seth Lender's website


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