McCarthy suggests, as Wordsworth did, that there is an organic correspondence—a radical fittedness—between the human mind and nature itself. “Something dwells already in our minds; and I believe it is the bond, the bond of fifty thousand generations with the natural world, which can make aspects of nature affect us so powerfully.” Love of nature isn’t universal in our species, he admits, but the propensity to love nature is. On this propensity—which flickers in and out of our awareness—rests the whole of McCarthy’s ode to joy.
Thank you for this article. I have 7 rescued birds, who I consider my children. I found an evening job, so that I may spend all day with them. I take them to parks, outdoor restaurants, and for walks around town. One of my Goffin cockatoos has a college education. Still, after spending hours of time with my babies each day, I wish they could be free. I adopted my cockatoo, Tokey two years ago. He had spent over 20 years in a cage with very little social interaction and no toys. He certainly has his problems, but I am surprised at how he has recovered from such mental trauma. When people see me with my birds, they are surprised to learn how much their behaviors resemble those of a human child. Like human children, they need their space to spread their wings and fly free when they leave the nest. I will never be able to offer my birds that liberty. My only comfort is providing these rescues the best possible life I can offer.