Saturday, December 31, 2005

Seeing how it is

Watching animals, or spending time with small children are two good ways to practice seeing life as it truly is. We tend to overlay the world with our values or hopes, and animals or small children really strip those things right away, if we give them the chance. You can't spend time with either group and stay really sentimental about them, in the goofy card sort of way.

For instance, if you watch swans for a while, the first thing you see is the beautiful, elegant bird smoothly sailing effortlessly across the surface. If you watch long enough, you will not only get the sense of those legs paddling like heck underneath, you will have the unequalled treat of seeing that great bird tipping up to dabble like a duck.

A swan's long neck is not there to be elegant, which is our impression, it's there to reach farther underwater to take advantage of food sources that ducks and geese can't reach. So, we amateur swan watchers are stunned to see the undignified posture as the swan goes bottoms up to dabble, paddling hard to stay tipped up. We are also amazed to find that they are very agressive birds that can easily break a man's arm if they are defending their nest! Or, we are amused to find that the pair called Romeo and Juliet on the Boston Public Gardens ponds turn out to be two females. The wildlife specialists actually knew this for a while, but thought it impolitic to publicize it (it would have been!). But the media got hold of the rumor just in time to publish it around the time of the Goodridge case -- very neat.

So, I try to learn from these events. See the world how it really is.

No comments: