July 28, 2014

The Visitor

The new house I bought several years ago came complete with a barren dirt floor for a backyard. Nothing lived there. Nothing could. The ground was hard as rock. So I decided to do something about its forlornness, by opting to give back to the Earth what the house’s construction had taken. I would make a mini wilderness out of the confines of my back yard.

It’s not that difficult. Just throw out some grass seeds of varying types, wild flower pods, a little horse manure from the stables down the road, lots of water, and life, as they say, finds its own way. Everything began to grow in what was once a barren, brown, rock-hard nothingness: varying heights of grass, clover mixed with small purple and white wild flowers, vibrant sticker bushes and other nameless flora, all creating a jungle of oxygen-bearing, sun-shielding life forms. [Read more...]

The Ties That Bind

“He’s beautiful.” And by “he” they mean Shilo, the horse I rescued from the killers several years ago. I paid the horse trader $50 more than the slaughterhouse would have paid him to keep him from putting that little gray Arabian onto the livestock truck bound for Texas.

I liken it to the way Oskar Schindler bought freedom for 1,100 Jews.

I don’t know how to respond to “He’s beautiful.” “Thank you”? For what? I didn’t make him. I didn’t create him. I can’t take credit for his grace, his spirit, his fire. Such questions leave me feeling awkward and speechless.

There’s a fine line among us. We recognize that animals have interests in their own lives, that they feel, think, reason, sleep, eat, drink, play, mate, dream, and die. But to whom do they belong? [Read more...]

Regarding Animals

Animals have voices: they speak. Some sing, others whinny; whales produce sounds so inaudible to the human ear that only other whales — sometimes 500 miles away — can hear them. Animals talk. They express themselves and communicate with others by producing meaningful sounds.

Humans don’t even deny them this.

In fact, they encourage it, especially for the amusement of other humans. “Speak, Fido!” they insist, and they don’t abandon the quest until the dog barks. “Good boy!” — as if they’ve proved something no other human being had known. And still science is obsessed with the passion of breaking the codes in animal communication. [Read more...]