Monday, November 26, 2007

Musings: So What You Think?

The moon was opposite Venus — one in front of me, the other behind — and all the mountains were clear when Koko and I set out on our walk this chilly morning.

No, it wasn’t the 30 degrees and rainy/sleeting kind of chill that my friend in Illinois reported yesterday, but it was enough to make me wish briefly for a thicker sweatshirt. The clouds were of the cirrus variety: thin and quilted around the moon, wispy and pink in the pre-dawn light that etched the Sleeping Giant in gold.

It was the sort of exquisite morning that made me want to dawdle, so I did.

Sometime in the night I was roused by what sounded like an encounter between a stalking cat and roosting chicken in the valley behind my house. I’m not sure which emerged the victor, as I heard the cat let loose with a ferocious snarl/howl as a hen — a tough opponent when protecting young chicks — cackled indignantly. A rooster — typically slow to defend his brood — crowed long and loud after all the action was over, and then all was quiet, save for the forlorn sound of cheeping chicks separated from their mother.

I’m pretty sure the hungry wild cat got a meal.

I’ve had animals on my mind more than usual after reading Ian Lind’s touching blog post this morning and hearing an excellent interview with author Sy Montgomery yesterday on the New Dimensions radio program. (You can listen free until Dec. 5.)

Montgomery noted that many animals "are born knowing everything they need to know. We dismiss that as 'just instinct.' That's crazy. What's wrong with knowing everything? We think we're so great because we humans think. Well, animals know. And knowing is better."

Those of us plagued with over-active minds understand that knowing is preferable to thinking, which can get into us all sorts of trouble, trauma and grief.

I’ve often wondered why humans put themselves at the top of the evolutionary scale just because we think our thinking is superior to the thinking done by animals. Sure, we’re super predators, but we can’t fly without airplanes, pull material out of our bodies that helps us catch food, love without all sorts of conditions attached.

We still haven’t figured out how to live in synch with everything else on the planet — including species that have been around millions of years, compared to our measly 200,000 years or so.

And most of us don’t have a clue about what we really need to survive — and thrive — in this world. We keep looking for it at the shopping malls and big box stores, and garans, it’s not there.

As Montgomery advises, and I agree: “We cripple ourselves by inventing these fake needs. Have more fun and less stuff.”

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