As I sat listening to the birds sing and watching the squirrels race around the tree, I stopped and wondered why humans think that they are superior to other animals, birds, and fish. When I reflect on the ways that humans treat each other, I question if other animals miss the abilities that we have, such as talking and working for a living.
For example, swans mate for life, none of the nastiness of divorce for them. And geese fly in formation in such a way that no one goose is over-burdened trying to pull the load all alone. They help each other, and if one falls from the sky, two or more follow to give support, only leaving after the fallen one recovers or dies.
Penguins practice equality of opportunity so much better than we do. They huddle close together throughout the winter, and keep altering their positions, so that every one of them has a equal chance for warmth. No one penguin gets to stay in the middle enjoying the heat from the others, and never having to pull his equal weight.
I don’t think that they would envy the inequality that seems to be a part of the human experience, in which some have so much of everything good, and others are paid such paltry wages that they are called “the working poor,” surely an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one.
Bears certainly don’t envy us when it comes to getting a meal. They instinctively wait for the salmon to spawn and stand awaiting their meal. As the salmons jump, the bears simply open their mouth and, dinner is served! Yep, nature has a thing or two to teach us. And don’t even get me started on hibernating all winter and being rejuvenated in the spring!
Lastly, I think of our pets, mainly dogs and cats. Their ability to forgive us our mistakes and love us unconditionally is a lesson for every human being. When we head to the closet to obtain a leash, our dogs wag their tails in anticipation of being outside and of playing with us.
Moreover, it don’t matter to cats and dogs if you are a doctor or a garbageman, have degrees or uneducated, or homeless or live in a mansion. All they ask is to be treated humanely and loved, and they return that love a hundredfold. It is the most amazing thing to witness!
When I see the incivility of people according to political ideology and domestic violence, I wonder if we are “all that and a bag of chips,” compared to our fellow earth-dwellers. I think that we can learn from them.
Indeed, Job 12:7-10 states, “Just ask the animals, and they will teach you. Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you. Speak to the earth, and it will instruct you. Let the fish in the sea speak to you. For they all know that my disaster has come from the hand of the Lord. For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being.”
This is, of course, a tongue-in-cheek post. But, the destruction of the habitats of animals for humans to have homes or businesses in places prone to disaster makes me wonder how we can think we are greater and more deserving of the spaces. I just don’t think that most animals would envy our abilities, especially when they see the mess that we have made of the earth.