29. Natural Light (03/2010)
The shabbiness of the human race is becoming more evident as our living planet slips into decline. Global destruction is mirrored in the deteriorating vigour of humanity. Health, elegance and pride have been replaced by growing dis-ease, sloppiness and shame. More people are starting to fully appreciate the natural world unity and recognize the fatal consequences of severing our earthly bond. The animal kingdom remains brimming with the finest examples of inherent human aspirations imaginable.
Vignettes of elegance abound on every level in our environment, some of which will not exist for future generations. A heron poised in a field, leopard draped over a rock, lone owl perched on a fence pole, silhouette of a kudu on a ridge: beacons of natural beauty, arresting allure.
Queens of the notion of cleanliness, cats, slink into the lead as bastions of hygienic zeal: always immaculately groomed and presentable, even when asleep. For swine, there is nothing more appropriate, cleansing, and fun than acquiring a protective mudpack. Geese bathe in water and chickens in dust many times a day to maintain a glistening exterior. Neglected appearance is the first indicator of illness.
Civility is seen in the organization of herds where hundreds, sometimes thousands of animals are synchronized in movement and thought, spaced according to drive and circumstance. Hierarchy and deference mould the shifting group structure of political animals adhering to their innate policies of pragmatic survival.
From anthills to weaver nests, beaver dams and rabbit warrens the architecture of animal dwellings is sustainable and perfectly attuned to the environment where planning permission is wavered with pleasure and universal admiration.
Animals under our control enthusiastically express gratitude at feeding time, either vocally or through body language. In the wild, creatures take what they need unless man has disrupted them by his greed. Deficiencies are rare in nature as animals have the freedom and discernment that allows instinctive selection of nutritionally balanced food.
We are constantly reminded about our lack of regard for instinctive decorum and mutual respect exhibited in animal behaviour, even by our own pets. When we fail to acknowledge or consider them, carelessly tread on their toes or cause injury, the gaze we receive is an expression of absolute incomprehension.
Animals can move with astounding grace: wild horses, cheetah chase, swans on a lake, midges at sunset, jellyfish at sea, even amoeba in a drop of water. Dragging of feet, lethargy, or poor posture are signs of disease.
Finesse in communication is easily observed among starlings occupying a tree in the late afternoon engrossed in mesmerizing group conversation. Whale song saturating the seas tells of transience and tragedy in another world. More obscure still are soft whispers among fishes. Infrasonic vibrations transmitted through elephant feet feeling their friends up to 100km away is a barely tangible concept. We are usually lost in translation of the subtle telepathic tidings that pass between animals using senses beyond our understanding.
We have extinguished the dignity of domestic animals by forcing them into squalid confinement to justify our condescension towards them, thereby creating enduring misery and suffering for them, and changing ourselves. When sentient beings concede the true value of life it rouses a compulsion for empathy. Waste and disease from intensive pig farms, polluting methane gas from cattle feedlots, and the violence of keeping hens in batteries, are merely symptoms of our fall from grace and the ruination of the Garden of earthly Eden.