I feed the birds, and keep their water bowls filled

It doesn’t solve the world’s problems, but it makes me feel better

Shefali O'Hara
3 min readJul 9, 2021


Photo by Chris Smith on Unsplash

Every few days I refill the bird feeder outside my window. I’ll top off the water bowls as well.

These are small things but the make me feel good.

In the spring, after I brush my dog’s hair, and my cat’s, I’ll take the soft fur and spread it on the wind for the wee creatures to use to line their nests. If I see baby bunnies in a hollow, I leave them undisturbed, and pull my dog away.

I donate small amounts, when I can, to small charities. I like to donate to the Native American reservations at Christmas time. Many families on the res don’t even have safe heating sources.

How can we call ourselves a moral country, I wonder, when we took almost all of the land from those who were here first and put them in the human equivalent of a zoo — we go view their exoticism, buy a few hand crafts, but do we show them any respect as people with ancient civilizations and cultures different from our own?

Our modern society is so focused on taking, on consumerism. What about conservatism?

The root of conservatism is to conserve. I realize many people nowadays view conservative as an evil word but it’s not. At least not to me. It means to conserve our resources. To try to give at least as much as I take.

If we harvest timber to build a home — do we plant trees to replace what we’ve used? When we use the bounty of our fertile farmland, do we replenish the soil? Instead of treating our farm animals like cogs in a giant factory, why don’t we show our appreciation for their sacrifice by giving them some respect?

This is something we might have learned from the Native Americans, if we hadn’t been so dead set on herding them into tiny spaces where once they roamed the breadth of the land they called home.

None of this is to idolize them. Native Americans could be cruel, too. After all, they are human beings.

But… are we dead set on racing to the bottom, or can we think about what small steps we can take to make things better? I’m not talking about anything huge here, though if you have the time and…



Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.