We live on the leash of our senses.
Just as our ancient ancestors drew animals on cave walls and carved animals from wood and bone, we decorate our homes with animal prints and motifs, give our children stuffed animals to clutch, cartoon animals to watch, animal stories to read.
I’m certainly not opposed to digital technology, whose graces I daily enjoy and rely on in so many ways. But I worry about our virtual blinders.
Complexity excites the mind, and order rewards it. In the garden, one finds both, including vanishingly small orders too complex to spot, and orders so vast the mind struggles to embrace them.
Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains.
We’re losing biodiversity globally at an alarming rate, and we need a cornucopia of different plants and animals, for the planet’s health and our own.
As the most social apes, we inhabit a mirror-world in which every important relationship, whether with spouse, friend or child, shapes the brain, which in turn shapes our relationships.
Cicadas, buckling and unbuckling their stomach muscles, yield the sound of someone sharpening scissors. Fall field crickets, the thermometer hounds, add high-pitched tinkling chirps to the jazz, and their call quickens with warm weather, slows again with cool.
What a lonely species we are, searching for signals of life from other galaxies, adopting companion animals, visiting parks and zoos to commune with other beasts. In the process, we discover our shared identity.
We embrace two-legged beings, and can warm to four-legged beings, too, but for most people, six legs is pushing it. Most don’t need multi-eyed, antennaed face time.