Although it was just 8 degrees at the cabin this morning, the brutal 40 mph wind has finally died down, and frankly, after yesterday, this morning feels almost balmy in comparison. Suddenly, 8 degrees is fine and glorious weather. The birds are already more active at the feeders this morning. The dogs no longer have their noses buried under their tails. The cats—okay, so the cats are still sleeping on top of me.
Yesterday’s weather kept the local woods residents as hunkered down as I was. Today, deer blink in the bright morning sun and step cautiously out of their hiding places. Squirrels arrived, hungry, to the bird feeders before the sun was up. It’s not only humans who appreciate a calmer day. I even heard a bluebird.
We share a lot with the animals who live on the earth with us. Often, I think, we don’t realize how similar we all are. Too often, we think of any animal other than humans as "them," a word that immediately points up our differences and ignores the similarities. If you’ve ever seen a doe gently nudge her new fawn or watch three young raccoons get into more trouble than their mother can deal with, the similarities suddenly become a lot more clear.
If all you see are the things that makes a hawk, say, different from a person, you won’t learn to appreciate the struggles of their lives. We may say that their killing another creature for food is cruel, especially when their prey is a "cute" animal, while we think nothing about eating that hamburger.
Nature is what it is: a system of life and death of which we are a part. Other animals, other plants are also partners of that system with us. We each have a place. We each have a role. We need to remember not to hog the stage.