Miracle. All of It.

elephant-city

If you were an elephant living wild in a western city…

  • You’d have one two-fingered hand swinging from your face – a hand as sensitive as tumescent genitals, but which could smash a wall or pick a cherry. With that hand you’d explore your best friends’ mouths, just for the sake of friendship.
  • you’d smell water two miles away and the flowers at your feet
  • Grumbles from trucks and cabs would shudder through the toxic ground, tickle the lamellar corpuscles in your feet and ricochet up your bones…You’d hear with your feet, and your femurs would be microphones
  • As you walked 10 miles for your breakfast you’d chatter with your friends in 10 octaves
  • You’d have the happiest kind of political system, run by wise old women, appointed for their knowledge of the world and their judgment, uninterested in hierarchy for hierarchy’s sake, and seeking the greatest good for the greatest number.
  • Elephants know, from distances well beyond the reach of ordinary senses, that other elephants were on the way…from 50 miles away
  • Why do elephants seek out other elephants?…because they like other elephants.
  • When a bereaved elephant mother carries her dead baby round on her tusks, or trails miserably behind the herd for weeks, her head hanging down, she’s grieving. When other elephants sit for hours around the body of a dead elephant, they’re mourning. When they cover an elephant corpse with soil or vegetation, or move elephant bones, they’re being reverential. When they cover a dead human, or build a protective wall of sticks around a wounded human, they’re showing an empathic acknowledgment of our shared destiny that we’d do well to learn.
  • You’re a city elephant. You’ll inhabit the city much more intensely and satisfactorily than most of its human denizens. All your senses will be turned fully on. You won’t, like most woefully unsensual humans, using only your eyes.
  • If they’re people, they’re embarrassingly better people than we are. They build better communities; they live at peace with themselves and aren’t, unlike us, actively psychopathic towards other species.
  • Be careful, though. You’re likely to end up dead because someone wants a couple of your teeth.

~ Charles Foster, excerpts from “If You Were An Elephant” in The Guardian (Jan 19, 2017)


Notes:

  • Digital Art Image Credit: Larger than Life by H3NDRIX121
  • Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week

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Polar bear Wolodja takes a nap in its enclosure at the Berlin Tierpark zoo in Germany.

Rest Wolodja, rest.

 


Source: The Washington Post, (Maurizio Gambarini/dpa via AP; Jan. 8, 2017)

Dark to dawn, with long warm breaths (60 sec)

Heartwarming moment with man rescuing sparrow after its wet feet froze onto a water tank pipe. The footage was shot in Idaho, USA, shows the man pressing his palm against the bird’s feet to free it from the ice before blowing on them.

“While feeding my horses on New Year’s morning I noticed a solitary sparrow perched upon the steel fence near the water tank. The tank is heated to keep it from freezing. It is not uncommon for birds to drink from the heated tank. Apparently this unfortunate bird had gotten its feet wet and, while making its exit, had become frozen to the fence in the prevailing near zero Idaho temperatures. First, I attempted to warm the feet of the frightened bird by pressing my palm against both the fence and the birds feet, while also gently restraining the bird’s flapping wings. It then seemed that warming the birds feet with my warm breath would bring quicker success. Gentle sideways motion with my thumb brought freedom for the frightened bird and a smile of satisfaction to my face… a delightful way to start a new year.” (Source: Newsflare.com)


Notes:

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week (Out with the X-Mas tree)

Berlin,christmas tree, zoo

Elephants feast on discarded Christmas trees at Berlin’s zoo.

Recycling. Au Naturel. Who knew?


(Source: wsj.com by Sean Gallup, Getty Images)

He is running, running, running

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He is running, running, running. And it’s like no kind of running he’s ever run before. He’s the surge that burst the dam and he’s pouring down the hillslope, channelling through the grass to the width of his widest part. He’s tripping into hoof-rucks. He’s slapping groundsel stems down dead. Dandelions and chickweed, nettles and dock. This time, there’s no chance for sniff and scavenge and scoff. There are no steel bars to end his lap, no chain to jerk at the limit of its extension, no bellowing to trick and bully him back. This time, he’s further than he’s ever seen before, past every marker along the horizon line, every hump and spork he learned by heart. […]

He is running, running, running. And there’s no course or current to deter him. There’s no impulse from the root of his brain to the roof of his skull which says other than RUN.

~ Sara Baume, from the Prologue of Spill Simmer Falter Wither (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015)


Ray, a 57-year-old loner on Britain’s southern coast, adopts a one-eyed terrier. You can guess what happens next: Ray falls head over heels in love and is soon organizing his life around One Eye’s walks and feedings…Ray falls deeper under the spell of the damaged but joy-filled dog who has transformed his “squat, vacant life” and renewed his interest in his surroundings…This lovely book seems destined to become a small classic of animal communion literature, fervently handed along among friends and family…Early on, Ray asks himself a question that anyone whose life has been changed by a pet will recognize: “What did I use to do all day without you? Already I can’t remember.”

~ Sam Sacks, from his book review of Spill Simmer Falter Wither


One of NPR’s Best Books of 2016.  See NPR book review: For A Young Irish Artist And Author, Words Are Anchored In Images

T.G.I.F.: Like a punch in the gut 


National Geographic curated photos from 91 photographers, 107 stories, and 2,290,225 photographs.  

Poachers killed this black rhinoceros for its horn with high-caliber bullets in South Africa’s Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park. Black rhinos number only about 5,000 today.

Don’t miss the 51 other amazing photos here: 2016 Photos of the Year.

it kept running back and forth, trembling and chattering

 Alexandra Bochkareva

A summer day — I was twelve or thirteen — at my cousins’ house, in the country. They had a fox, collared and on a chain, in a little yard beside the house. All afternoon all afternoon all afternoon it kept—
_______

Once I saw a fox, in an acre of cranberries, leaping and pouncing, leaping and pouncing, leaping and falling back, its forelegs merrily slapping the air as it tried to tap a yellow butterfly with its thin black forefeet, the butterfly fluttering just out of reach all across the deep green gloss and plush of the sweet-smelling bog.
_______

— it kept running back and forth, trembling and chattering.

~ Mary Oliver, from “Staying Alive” in Upstream: Selected Essays

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Photos: From Autumn and Winter series by Alexandra Bochkareva (via My Modern Met). The dichotomy between the Mary Oliver excerpt and the photographs is that the fox (Alice) is trained and domesticated. Don’t miss the backstory and additional photos at My Modern Met.

T.G.I.F.: 5:00 PM Bell!

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Notes:

They live closer to the bone

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In common parlance, the word ‘soul’ pops up everywhere…Soul music gets us swaying. We want our lover, body and soul. In each case, ‘soul’ connotes deep feeling and core values…Today, studies increasingly show that many non-human beings feel. Elephants appear to feel grief, while dolphins and whales express joy, or something much like it. Parrots can become cranky, pigs and cows terrified, chickens saddened, monkeys seemingly embarrassed. Experiments have shown that rats become agitated when seeing surgery performed on other rats and that, when presented with a trapped lab-mate and a piece of chocolate, they will free their caged brethren before eating. […]

One might even argue that other creatures are more cognisant of feelings than humans are, because they possess a primary form of consciousness: they are aware of themselves and their environment but are less burdened by complexities such as reflection and rumination that typify human consciousness. They live closer to the bone, so to speak. Jeffrey Masson, author of When Elephants Weep (1995), has remarked that animals possess feelings of ‘undiluted purity and clarity’ compared to the ‘seeming opacity and inaccessibility of human feelings.’[…]

Extraordinary examples of ensoulment among non-human animals abound. Ethologist Adriaan Kortlandt once observed a wild chimp in the Congo ‘gaze at a particularly beautiful sunset for a full 15 minutes, watching the changing colors’, forsaking his evening meal in the process. Elsewhere, African elephants belonging to the same family or group will greet one another after a separation with a loud chorus of rumbles and roars as they rush together, flapping their ears and spinning in circles. […]

A particularly striking case of animal gratitude occurred in 2005 off the California coast, where a female humpback whale was found entangled in nylon ropes used by fishermen. As recounted by Frans de Waal in The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society (2009): ‘The ropes were digging into the blubber, leaving cuts. The only way to free the whale was to dive under the surface to cut away the ropes.’ The divers spent an hour at the task, an especially risky one given the sheer strength of the animal’s tail. ‘The most remarkable part came when the whale realised it was free. Instead of leaving the scene, she hung around. The huge animal swam in a large circle, carefully approaching every diver separately. She nuzzled one, then moved on to the next, until she had touched them all.’ […]

In the end, soul may be a profound matter of fellow feeling. The stronger the capability of a given species for fellow feeling, the more that species can be said to exhibit soulfulness. To view things in this way offers another important step in humanity’s progression towards understanding its place in creation – and to appreciate the inheritance we hold in common with other sentient beings on this increasingly small, restive, and fragile planet.

~ Michael Jawer, Do only humans have souls, or do animals possess them too? | Aeon Ideas


Photo: Humpback whale bubbles by Scott Portelli (via lovely seas)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

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Source: Pelican titled Grumpy by Bogdan Boev (from Bulgaria) (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)

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