“Let us remember that animals are not mere resources for human consumption. They are splendid beings in their own right, who have evolved alongside us as co-inheritors of all the beauty and abundance of life on this planet” (Marc Bekoff)
On many summer mornings in sultry South Florida, I gaze curiously from my condo patio to an unfolding, natural scene of scampering squirrels, migratory waterfowl, and ancient reptiles, coexisting by our adjacent lakeside. Muscovy Ducks huddle together in “busybody” procession. A spiny iguana slowly struts to the top of a sand hill to claim maximum exposure to the sun. A brown squirrel races to my door to retrieve his daily peanut.
How inspiring for me then that the daily survival rituals of one species does not negatively encroach on others in the seemingly endless search to find scarce food each day. Amidst such lush foliage of this subtropical feeding ground and adjoining lakeside glory, nature provides plenty of space for all. Thus, human/animal cooperation rather than competition becomes a most preferable survival option.
On this particular morning, I decelerate in my new SUV to let a a lone, Egyptian goose cross the road nonchalantly in front of my vehicle. Surprisingly, he(she) then veers directly toward the driver’s side door. I then imagine such behavioral movement showing obedience to me as a commanding king. Whether this behavior appears stupid or not, I do not care. For I have observed firsthand evidence for a suitable starting point to see human/animal survival as a matter of trust and mutual coexistence rather than a fiercely contested battle.
In our road trip travels, we have witnessed a similar phenomenon of human/animal symbiosis at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Along its vast stretch of over 1,904 sq. miles, over 67 species of animals, 16 kinds of fish, and 46 varieties of reptiles/amphibians continue to thrive here in spite of encroaching tourist invasions in the surrounding canyon. In the video below, feel how the sheer grandeur of this special place evokes the peaceful spirit of the “Havasupai” Indians who still inhabit regions of the canyon today. Understand how they cling to beliefs that an eagle, coyote… can travel through life within an individual, assisting that person in times of life crisis. Such Native American passion that wild animals can be viewed as a benevolent friend and ally resonates deeply as a source of hope for a fresh spirit of unity in our increasingly hostile country today.
Jim, this was so beautifully written. What a lovely reflective piece!! Ironically, I read it as I was out front of my own condo sitting on a bench near the mail boxes and basking in the glory of our Florida environment. All while separating my junk mail and getting it ready to put into the correct recycling bin.
I took a moment to enjoy exactly what you so flawlessly described. We share very similar condo environments. Mine is by a canal and a few lakes, and other than a few gators that seem to pop up now and then, the usual visitors are some gorgeous birds, including blue jays, a few iguanas, countless smaller lizards of varying sizes, squirrels, and a myriad of ducks. All cohabiting peacefully. The only villain in this mix is the careless human, who occasionally drives too fast and doesn’t watch out for a mama duck and her waddeling ducklings. Just yesterday I played stop and go tag with a huge Cuban Anole on my walk, as some unidentifiable ducks walked on by not giving me the time of day. LOL
And you are so right. We take for granted the miraculous way nature works. Some of these creatures are not even native to this state, and yet they have adjusted and fit in perfectly, making Florida their home. My indoor kitty loves to watch all the little critters scampering about on the golf course and after a rain storm, he gets so excited watching all the ducks come to wade in the water and find yummy worms or whatever it is the rain brings to the surface and leaves behind. Aren’t we lucky to have all this in our back yard?
I don’t remember it happening at the Grand Canyon, but I was a very little girl when my parents took my family on that road trip and all I can recall is being more concerned about how high up we were and discovering my fear of heights. (That and the amazing colors from the rocks. )
This was a really lovely blog to read, especially out doors. I put my phone back in my pocket and walked up to my condo hearing thunder in the distance as a few drops of rain began to fall.
Reading your article made me grateful for everything I had around me in the way of nature. Now, if we could only get this information to Washington so they can take a good look at how it all could easily be done…Working together!!
Oh, I loved your acknowledgment to the Native Americans, who understood the balance in all of this. I suppose until our leaders comprehend that harmony is created when our earth and all it’s elements, including mankind, is in total balance. Thanks for sharing.
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Hi Leslie. As I have stated in my blog before, you don’t have to travel far to become enlightened by the present moment. Thank you immensely for your continued encouragement of my blog writings. Maybe I should write a book.
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You really should. There are ebooks now and you have enough to gather up and upload into one and put it on Amazon. They have a site that explains how to create an ebook for amazon and iBooks has one too.
How beautifully you have written this post..I liked the way you have incorporated pictures to go with the flow… great post
Thank you very much for reading my blog. I appreciate the feedback.