1) Praise, flattery, exaggerated manners and fine, high-sounding words were no part of Lakota politeness. Excessive manners were put down as insincere, and the constant talker was considered rude and thoughtless. Conversation was never begun at once, or in a hurried manner.
2) Children were taught that true politeness was to be defined in actions rather than in words. They were never allowed to pass between the fire and the older person or a visitor, to speak while others were speaking, or to make fun of a crippled or disfigured person. If a child thoughtlessly tried to do so, a parent, in a quiet voice, immediately set him right.
3) Silence was meaningful with the Lakota, and his granting a space of silence before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regardful of the rule that ‘thought comes before speech.’…and in the midst of sorrow, sickness, death or misfortune of any kind, and in the presence of the notable and great, silence was the mark of respect… strict observance of this tenet of good behavior was the reason, no doubt, for his being given the false characterization by the white man of being a stoic. He has been judged to be dumb, stupid, indifferent, and unfeeling.
4) We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, the winding streams with tangled growth, as ‘wild’. Only to the white man was nature a ‘wilderness’ and only to him was it ‘infested’ with ‘wild’ animals and ‘savage’ people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery.
5) Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them. And so close did some of the Lakotas come to their feathered and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue.
6) This concept of life and its relations was humanizing and gave to the Lakota an abiding love. It filled his being with the joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.
7) It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth… the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly. He can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.
8) Everything was possessed of personality, only differing from us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature learns, and that was to feel beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensified human futility, so whatever came we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint.
9) …the old Lakota was wise. He knew that a man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans, too. So he kept his children close to nature’s softening influence.
10) Civilization has been thrust upon me… and it has not added one whit to my love for truth, honesty, and generosity.
We all record. We record the majority of the significant moments of our lives. The simulacrum is all around us. It appears in our Facebook and our Twitter feeds. We turn the camera on the world.
Professional broadcasters too, record the world around us. The wonder of planet Earth through the professional’s lens and the soothing voice of Sir David Attenburgh is a unique pleasure for the wildlife enthusiast. We are privileged to witness the great wildlife experiences from the comfort of our sofas. Recorded and edited.
The wildlife recording/filming has undergone significant progress, in particular, BBC Springwatch has added a new live dimension. The programmes are broadcast live from locations in a primetime evening slot on the BBC. They require a crew of 100 and over 50 cameras, making them the BBC's largest British outside broadcast events. Many of the cameras are hidden and operated remotely to record natural behaviour, for example, of birds in their nests and badgers outside their set. It attempts to record the fledging of chicks, the mischief of the cuckoo and the turn of the natural cycle all live. The BBC has a huge team of producers and technicians to experts and storytellers. They do a remarkable job of it in a small corner of the world be it Minsmere or the Scottish highlands. They capture the macro and the micro worlds of nature as well as the intricate web of species interrelationships. We witness the great wildlife experiences from the comfort of our sofas
With the advent of social media.-Twitter to tumblr- amateurs, like me, are given the ability to log and record. Recently, I used the new app, Periscope for the first time. This allows the user to live stream video from their phone. The first views from irishwildlife.ie on Periscope were of the river Nore in Kilkenny. 20 people saw it from all over the world. A river live. Raw and unedited. I was looking for otters or at least signs of otters. Viewers immediately wanted to see the otters. Had I tricked the audience? Had I announced the Loch Ness monster?. Well at least I had focused the minds of my meagre audience. Eyes clued to the scene of a river. Live.
There is another aspect of recording. Citizen science presents big data. A real time recording of wildlife events. The public gets involved. We record. This year the BBC has the British public recording the signs of spring through five signatory signs. These testament signs include the leafing oak and the return of the swallow.
Here in Ireland, we record the first sighting of basking sharks off our waters indicating the upwelling of plankton. Camera traps have allowed us to leave and to record the behaviour of animal both during the day and at night. Badgers are recorded using GPS tags to prove they avoid farmyards and amazingly fields of grazing cattle. Satellite GPS tags also track golden eagles in Donegal as well as other Eagles as they travel across county boundaries.
However, Nature is always live. People have their own expectations. People turn up and want to see an otter or dolphin in high definition detail live. We can watch Attenborough and a snow leopard. But to get that shot, one man took 6 weeks in Afghanistan to capture a fleeting glance of a snow leopard. He spent Christmas Day in a hide attempting to capture some fleeting moments of the elusive creative.
Anyone who has ever tried to photograph and otter or a kingfisher in the wild, will surely testify that the reality is unpredictable. Everyone who watches wildlife knows the hours of patient and intelligent scouting that takes place.
I saw a kingfisher today. It streaked past me on the banks of the Nore. If I had stayed still I would have set my camera and seen the perch it was on. I reacted enthusiastically and the kingfisher moved out of shot. I waited 25 minutes. I tried to get ahead of the bird. It started to rain as I squatted in the mud under the cover of a tree. I waited. Natural behaviour recording requires knowledge and planning, patience and most of all luck.
The wonder of nature is that it is always live. The surprise and the revelation is the wonder. The unpredictability expresses its complexity. Nature is always on.