Saturday Morning

Make some room for yourself, human animal.
Even a dog jostles about on his master’s lap to
improve his position. And when he needs space he
runs forward, without paying attention to commands
or calls.
If you didn’t manage to receive freedom as a gift,
demand it as courageously as bread and meat.
Make some room for yourself, human pride and
dignity.
The Czech writer Hrabal said:
I have as much freedom as I take.

~ Julia Hartwig, Demand It Courageously, from In Praise of the Unfinished


Notes:

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call


Photo: Matt Cowell (via Cheetah Camp). “Got into this mass/pod/gathering of hippo in the southern Serengeti – as the river was drying up, so these animals amassed together in a soup of old water and faeces. It was interesting to note that despite there being over a hundred grouped together, there was little friction and there seemed to be a quiet patience and understanding, all were waiting for the rains, not just for the river to rise, but also the grasses to flush again on the plains so they didn’t have to wander so far at night for food. Until then each was forced to wait, and while waiting so use their neighbour as a leaning post as they lazed through the hot hours of the day…”

Monday Morning


Photo: A lion yawns at the Wilhema Zoo in Stuttgart, Germany. Photo by Christoph Schmidt, Zuma Press (wsj.com December 26, 2017)

Sunday Morning

When I found the seal pup alone on the far beach,
not sleeping but looking all around, I didn’t
reason it out, for reason would have sent me away,
I just
went close but not too close, and lay down on the sand
with my back toward it, and
pretty soon it rolled over, and rolled over
until the length of its body lay along
the length of my body, and so we touched, and maybe
our breathing together was some kind of heavenly conversation
in God’s delicate and magnifying language, the one
we don’t dare speak out loud,
not yet.

~ Mary Oliver, from “The Return” in From What Do We Know: Poems And Prose Poems.


Notes: Poem via Words for the YearSeal pup photo by gemma reddington

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:

  • Photo: “You couldn’t have! To his fellow seal, this elephant seal seems in shock.” by George Cathcart
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again

5:00 P.M. Bell!


via Momentary Mood

Love and Safety (and a punch in the gut)

A worker at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya shares a tender moment with an elephant calf. Your Shot photographer I. Ogila explains, “When poachers kill adult elephants for ivory, the young ones are usually left desperate and unlikely to survive alone in the wild.” But by being in the care of the Trust, “they get a chance to live and die of old age.”

Source: NationalGeographic.com. Photograph by I. Ogila, National Geographic Your Shot

 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call


An Indonesian black macaque named Niv holding a young chicken at the Ramat Gan Safari Park near Tel Aviv. After the chicken wandered into Niv’s enclosure, zoo officials said, the pair bonded. (Jack Guez, Agency France-Presse, Getty Images, wsj.com August 25, 2017)

 

He looked down, she just gave him a little lick, and suddenly I couldn’t stop him from crying

Zereeseis Player, age 12: “They taught me how to be respectful, they taught me how to listen, they’ve taught me not to be disobedient to others, and treat people like they want to be treated.”
Farrah Akbar, age 8:  “I would say, if you’ve never seen a horse or touched a horse, just touch it. Because if you touch it, then you’ll feel the soul.”

At equine-therapy programs like Compton Jr. Posse in Los Angeles, inner-city adolescents find a refuge from drugs and street-gang culture by developing equestrian skills and learning to regard the knowing gazes of 1,000-plus-pound horses and guide their beguiling power. In return for striving in school, the program’s participants, ranging in age from 8 to 18, are taught to ride horses, groom them and clean their stables. These experiences keep them within the horse’s “personal circle.” Horses have a profound effect on humans. “Whether they have a physical handicap or an emotional handicap or a mental handicap, when you’re around a horse,” Akbar says, “the energy is so powerful that it tunes the body up…

Something extraordinary occurs when we’re in the presence of a fellow sentient being. When we let go of language’s tacit conceptual constraints and judgments, we allow ourselves a kind of time travel toward our own inner animal. Science is revealing the ways that the physiology of our psychology can be found across species: the common neuronal structures and attendant nerve wirings that we share in varying measures with a startling array of both vertebrates and invertebrates, including fellow primates, elephants, whales, parrots, bees and fruit flies. Animal therapy makes us aware of this cross-species interconnectivity on the purest, subconscious level…It has been established that the tactile element alone in animal therapy releases endorphins, so called feel-good hormones that counteract the trauma hormones of adrenaline and cortisol.

…therapists involved in such programs speculate that their benefits actually derive from shutting down for a time some of our brain’s higher and sometimes cacophonous cognitive functions…Rather than augmenting higher-level consciousness, a substance like psilocybin actually shuts down our brain’s ego center, which, under duress, can confer crippling fear, guilt and insecurity, and instead allows people access to their unfettered emotions and sense of childlike wonder. Allows them, in other words, a mind-altering walk in the wood with no names…

“He looked down,” Martin recalls, “and she just gave him a little lick, and suddenly I couldn’t stop him from crying. Just that connection set free all of this stuff inside of him. She was the catalyst. There’s that ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ thing that happens. That’s real.”

~ Charles Siebert, excerpts from Why Close Encounters With Animals Soothe Us (NY Times, May 18, 2017)

 

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