Gonna lay down my burden…
I ain’t gonna study war no more.
Gonna lay down my sword and shield…
Took a walk by the Mukwonago River yesterday. Heard lots of geese honking raucously, actually ridiculously. “Sounds like a barnyard!” I said, imagining donkeys braying and cows lowing. Actually, there was a barnyard of sorts across the river. On the slope leading to the water there were about a dozen white domestic geese. All along the waters edge, there were wild Canada geese splashing about, enjoying the sunshine. I wonder how they size each other up? I wonder what their honking was all about?
We watched a video from the “Life” series, narrated by David Attenborough (our hero!) that featured footage of killer whales and leopard seals hunting. I had seen a clip on the internet somewhere of killer whales tossing a seal around and many people commented about how cruel it was that they were playing with their unfortunate victim. David Attenborough, narrating the scene of a leopard seal eating a penguin, described how it has to fling the body away from the piece its teeth are holding in order to rip off a manageable chunk of meat. That made a lot of sense to me, and it dawned on me that the killer whales were probably doing the same thing. Are non-human animals ever cruel, I wonder? I’ve seen a real game of cat-and-mouse, but I’m not sure that’s about cruelty. Then again, we have bred animals to demonstrate cruelty. Fighting animals and hunting animals who attack other animals for reasons other than their own survival can be said to be cruel, I suppose. Is it a human notion to cultivate violence for other ends, like status, power, sport and such? Or do animals have that trait as well?
As I am typing this, a hawk has come to perch in the maple tree outside my bedroom window. He is probably waiting for the sparrows and squirrels and cottontail rabbits that come to my garden chair looking for bread crumbs and popcorn kernels. Here’s a shot I just took through my dingy window:
He’s still there, swiveling his head about, looking with his sharp eyes for his next meal. It isn’t about war, it’s about food. He takes no more than he needs. What about us? When we take more than we need, are we at war? And what do we really need?
I don’t want to be burdened with war, status, power, ego or contention today. I want to live like they live “down by the riverside”. It seems peaceful and natural. I could just watch this hawk all day….