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Animal Instincts

Posted Aug 23 2008 3:20pm
I saw my dog shake a groundhog to death yesterday evening. This seemingly gentle dog, the one who when inside with her toys merely prods them tenderly with her nose as they squeak joyfully; the one who can pick up a fly with her lips, barely wetting its wings as she lifts it in the air and then drops it back onto the rug.



But this is also the animal who knows how to go right for the jugular, shaking a squirrel or groundhog until its neck breaks, and slinking back to me (as I scold her) panting, a drop or two of vermin blood on the bridge of her normally innocent black nose.



If only I could understand her instincts – what it might be like to feel my muscles spring into action upon the scent of a moving creature in the brush, eyes locked in a missile launch, wanting so badly to sink my teeth into helpless flesh and fur. Perhaps I would then understand other mysteries, too, such as why humans can become so absorbed in petty things when a universe that continues to grow exponentially surrounds us. Or, why we seem to have so many resources available to solve the foreign oil crisis or "find a cure," but politics, greed and money (the most intangible tangible thing) thwart our progress.



I write this as I sit in my backyard, admiring the earth transformed by spring. That these plants boldly come forth year after year reminds me that there is method and melody to our cacophonous lives. I hear nothing but birds, a rumbling tractor, and the hum of a far-off roadway. I see nothing but green (that lovely, virgin green), fearlessly greeting the world we have preserved for it during the winter. This is how I greet each day, or at least try to. Sometimes I deal with the unpredictability of daily life by going for the jugular. Sometimes it requires a little more finesse, like picking up flies with your lips. We learn from instincts we will never truly comprehend.





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