The Outer Limits Of Resilience


One of my favorite parts of immersion in nature is realizing how powerful, sustaining, and resilient it is.

Watching animals in extreme weather is confounding. At first we wonder “how can they possibly survive out there?” Then we watch and we realize that they are fine, that we are just weak and possibly spoiled, so we nod to them with respect and apologize for underestimating them. I know many islanders had this experience watching the Barnegat Light Osprey Cam through some horrific thunderstorms this summer.

The Abaco islands in the Bahamas may seem a world away as we enjoy a beautiful Labor Day here on Long Beach Island. But they are not. Those islands are the siblings of our island. We are directly connected to them and them to us; we share in this family through a little something called the piping plover.

Some of our local animals are there right now and it is almost impossible to imagine how they are coping. How in the world can they survive? What is their strategy? What options do they have? How do they understand these events? What do they feel right now?

I have zero answers. All I know is that I’ve felt this way many times before and the end result is that I’m astounded by the resiliency of wild animals and embarrassed by my own arrogance, having made the mistake of assuming the animal’s ability to survive must somehow be equal to, or less than, my own.

Still, we must be testing the outer limits of resilience tonight.

So to all you plovers under Dorian, I hope you continue to amaze and astound us with your perfect adaptations and continue to prove you are way better at this than we are.