David Attenborough

I mailed a package to Sir Attenborough today. My son and I both love him so. The envelope contained a letter from each of us, some drawings of Elihu’s, and a CD of mine. It gave me a wonderful feeling to know that the package I held in my hands would soon be held in his. He would study the return address, perhaps ponder the unusual name, Elihu….

this is my letter…

March 1st, 2011

Warmest greetings to our dearest David,

My apologies for having omitted your formal title; your ubiquitous presence in our lives makes you feel like an old friend.

I am a single mother to a precocious and funny 7 ½ year old boy. A former ‘career diva’, I left the city for the country (upstate New York, in the foothills of the Adirondacks) and have shared the past two years of my life with chickens, guinea fowl, quail and homing pigeons. Since my son can remember, you have been a big part of his life.

Since he could speak, Elihu has loved birds with an absolute passion. It is not the passing fancy of a small child. He thinks of them day, night, in his dreams. He reads about them, he draws them, he prosthelytizes endlessly about their virtues to his classmates. Elihu has a rare congenital retinal disorder called Achromatopsia and cannot see any color, he cannot tolerate light much brighter than a 25 watt bulb, and cannot see definition of objects beyond a few feet away. He is legally blind. I find it so ironic that he should insist on using color so accurately, and that he is so prolific an artist, and given how challenging sight is, that he can visually identify birds faster than anyone I know (he can do the same by ear as well). In order for him to actually see live birds, we’ve created a nice table feeder just outside our kitchen window so that he can see them only inches away. (We’ve added a film of dark plastic to help him see in the outdoor light, it’s hidden benefit: wonderful bird blind!)

I hope it makes you smile to know that far away there is a little boy who would rather read your books than any others, and for whom not a detail of your videos goes unnoticed. My beloved Elihu counts you as his own family. Your sense of humor and love for what you do is something that my son truly gets. You are one of a handful of people who have helped shape my son’s life, and I am so grateful.

I too am grateful that you were true to your heart and ditched the big time desk job for the field. I can’t begin to imagine the experiences behind the finished productions. What a wonderful treasure you must have in memories and stories!

I’ve included some of Elihu’s drawings as well as a CD of mine as a small token of our thanks. We send our love and best wishes to you and your family.


Elizabeth Conant



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.