A Vanished Harmony

The winter 2020 edition of the BES member’s magazine The Niche lands today!

This ridiculously handsome bird is Amarula, a male Mauritius Fody, who I photographed when I visited Mauritius and Ile Aux Aigrettes in November 2018.

In my post about this on Monday, I failed to mention the title of the article or why I chose it. It started out being called Island Trails, which is obviously relevant and is also the title of the semi-autobiographical semi-fictional Corfu memoir written by Theodore Stephanides, the mentor of Gerald Durrell during his stay on Corfu. But in the end I went for A Vanished Harmony, which is taken from the verse by William Beebe featured on Gerald Durrell’s memorial stone in the gardens of Les Augres Manor, at Jersey Zoo:

The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived; though its first material expression be destroyed, a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer. But when the last individual of a race of living beings breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again.


This title really seemed to fit with the theme of the article, which is about restoration and regeneration, and hopefully not the last individual of any race of living beings. Mauritius has lost enough already. But I was surprised about how optimistic I felt after writing the article. There really is some of that vanished harmony on Ile Aux Aigrettes right now, regardless of the Wakashio disaster, and it is beautiful and precious.

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