I live near the Canada border. The other day, a family of Canadian geese were in my yard.
I have the good fortune of having a Momma bear and her cubs as my neighbors.
Today, I saw a post trending on Facebook about Margaret Mead and the first sign of civilized humanity. It was good:
“Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones.
But no. Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.
A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said.”
We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.”
Alot of animals do this too. I’ve been sick with Covid and my 2 dogs refuse to leave my side.
But geese, now Canadian geese, are special too.
Canadian geese fly south for the winter. It’s a long haul in a v formation in the sky.
1. They stick together.
2. The strongest takes the lead at first.
3. When the strongest gets tired, it falls back to the back of the group to regain strength protected from the winds by the others.
4. They rotate the front leaders and take turns with the youngest and weakest protected at the back.
5. If a goose gets hurt, shot, or falls out…2 geese volunteer to leave the group too to follow the goose down and stay with the goose until it gains strength again or passes on.
6. The geese honk alot to each other in v formation either for communication, comraderie, or encouragement.
Animals are more like humans than it seems sometimes.
Yesterday, I learned Rudyard Kipling wrote the Jungle Book while living in Vermont. Remember Mowgli? Maybe his book about the connection between man and nature had a lot to do with living here among these animals…the black bears and geese and deer here.
Anyway, I haven’t seen Dolly the bear and her baby cubs in a while. She showed up the day my son returned home from Guam. Coincidence? Maybe.
She does kinda remind me of Baloo living the bear necessities out here in Vermont. In the Jungle Book, the animals take Mowgli in and teach him how to survive and protect him. They remind me of Dolly, my Canadian geese family, and my own little “wolf pack,” my pups. We humans have a lot to learn from animals and nature too. This whole time living at this mountain cabin for a year, I thought I was letting the animals enter our domain, the fields and forests nearby, but no, it’s the other way around here. They have allowed me to be here and are beginning to trust me more. Just this morning, I saw 2 deer by my bird feeders so close to the house. I even set out a bowl of peanuts in shells for the ravens.
Something about living here in Vermont is changing me. I am becoming gentler, calmer, and healing.
And it has everything to do with the animals.