Wednesday, September 30, 2009

On Animal Instinct

There are few local sights more sorrowful than seeing a dead animal on the side of the road (or, as was the case this morning) right in the middle. These images always evoke my deepest pain and sympathy for not only the poor animal, but the person who accidentally (in most cases) killed it.

However ... we often wonder, why are these animals running into the middle of a busy street? It seems foolish to take the risk of running through a street where large vehicles are flying by.

I've often asked myself that very question. Why? Why would an animal, with all of their natural intelligence, take such a risk?

Today I found my answer. I was on my way to school, and what should I see but the little mangled body of a small animal. I almost cried, and as usual I made my little Saint Francis prayers for its soul's safe keeping. Then, once again, I asked why? Why did it have to run into the street, where cars abound and cannot stop? And the answer flew into my head .......

Animals are not familiar with human technology. Well, this might seem obvious, but really think about it: animals have their own natural instincts and measurements of protection. They have no concept of anything that is not ALIVE. For animals, everything is alive. That is why cats are so happy to play with toy mice, why dogs tear up sticks, why birds fly away we step too near. Animals are used to movement and verve. They are used to INTELLIGENT movement. Cars do not have intelligent movement. WE operate cars: OUR minds are the force behind their actions; furthermore, cars go straight. That pretty much brings us to my point:

CARS GO STRAIGHT, and moving 30, 40, or 50mph, they cannot stop for an animal crossing the road. And an animal cannot understand this. They think that a car, like any other force in life, has the responsibility to skid/run/turn/swerve away. When a little animal runs in front of a car, they expect it to just run away, like a dog would, or a mouse, or a racoon.

Road kill (and I hate using that term) are not "dumb animals" that were foolish and ran in front of a car. They are intelligent beings that naturally expect cars to be a living force that can sense them and get out of their way. They know nothing different. Their experience of life is, well, life. When a squirrel runs in front of a bird, the bird flies away. When a rat runs past a mouse, the mouse scurries off. When an animal runs in front of a car, they expect the same result. Sadly, this is not the case.

I don't know ... this is very quickly conceived and written, so maybe my point is not clear. I'll reword this at a later date. For now, I just wanted to quickly share the true nature of "foolish animals" and point out their innate natural intelligence. And also to reflect upon the fact that humans are the only creatures on earth to surround themselves with nonlife.

Any thoughts or insights? Please share!

~ Lily

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