As I was picking blackberries this morning, I was startled by a little snake. She was suspended in the blackberry thicket, maybe finding the air more pleasant than the wet ground, maybe hunting the frogs that inhabit the ditch below the berries. For just a moment, I was an Eve – thinking about fruit, but temporarily captivated by the beauty of this creature, her slender muscularity, the elegance of the racing stripes down her back. I reached out to touch her smooth scales and she slipped away. The fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil has long been among us.
Outside our bathroom window there is log where the skinks and lizards sit to catch some morning light. A young one, with a bright blue tale, creeps out to bask for a moment. The moment is brief because an older skink, twice the size of its kin, emerges and chases away the freshie.
After the excitement of the birth of our first goat kids here, we were astonished to find that the mama goats want nothing to do with each other’s kids. If anything, they appear disdainful of them. Given the chance, they butt them or nip the little one’s tails if they come too close. We have even witnessed the does go out of their way to jostle the other’s kid while it was nursing.
What kind of survival tactic is this, we wonder? Surely the herd would thrive if they were kind to one another’s offspring?
It’s also a little bit terribly poignant.
The national and international news reel of the past couple weeks has been brutal. I feel bruised at the soul every time I turn on the radio. This is a reminder – the concept of humanity as a unity – the concept that we are all HUMAN and more alike than not – is a relatively new concept. And it is fragile.
I’ve never had a problem with thinking of humans as animals. We are animals with extraordinary brains, however, and it’s obvious that we have intellectual and spiritual potential beyond many (I won’t say all) of the creatures with which we share the world. Surely we need not be bound by the same blind territorial instincts as our relatives. I can only hope and pray that enough of us, striving against our lower instincts, can hold a peace.
Fear and Greed, and the Anger and Violence that abet their motives, are our enemies, not people.