October 12, 2013

North Cairn: Animals do deserve a brake

(Continued from page 1)

I walked quietly away, then resumed the killing machine, revved the motor and motored on.

The following morning, nature -- in the form of 13 wild turkeys -- almost got the upper hand on me, and nearly outsmarted the car, as I maneuvered down the same road, different stretch, another direction. I had come up over the knoll of a small hill, thinking no danger lingered nearby, and almost burst into the gaggle of birds as they strutted in broken formation across the road.

They were enormous. And indifferent to the threat that I, and then another motorist coming from the opposite side of the road, posed. They seemed to have their awareness focused somewhere else, another dimension almost, fiddling around, back and forth, as though gossiping among themselves.

People say turkeys are stupid birds, and you might have concluded that, seeing them take their own sweet time, clearing the road for commuter traffic to get going again. But I'm not so sure.

Observing them, I sensed they simply might have had their heads in different clouds than ours. Not hard to imagine of those long-legged wild birds with relatively tiny heads atop extended necks, eyes peering with a double perspective that our own myopia misses.

After all, we're the animals who are so certain we are the center of the universe, day to day.

We might pretend in our philosophies or cosmologies that we know better, but everything about our imprint on life, the earth, each other, tells the truer tale.

It doesn't help that we have the intelligence and tool-making skills, the opposable thumbs and steely emotions to be egocentric demons or self-sacrificing spirits of the air. All those just complicate things.

Good we have "foolish" birds to stop us in our tracks and mammals so unlike our similar selves for comparison. Good we stop from time to time and take notice. Otherwise we might actually come to believe, in our heart of hearts, that we're in charge.

North Cairn can be reached at 791-6325 or at:

ncairn@pressherald.com

 

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