Finished and complete
“For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
— Henry Beston
Years ago Daddy showed me this quote, and I liked it instantly. It captures perfectly the mysterious appeal that draws so many animal lovers to all sorts of creatures. We watch in fascination as each species moves in its own unique sphere, possessed of capabilities that enable survival and usefulness to the environment.
Anyone who watches National Geographic specials about animals soon learns that nature can be harsh and even cruel. This is why Beston’s description of animals as “fellow prisoners” seems so apt. Whether small and agile or large and mighty, each is subject to forces beyond its control, part of a large and magnificent living tapestry.
We may be captivated by their tremendous strength, exotic beauty or astonishing grace, but perhaps it is this common bond of earthly travail that binds us most to the animals. I find it difficult to watch any creature for very long without feeling some degree of sympathy for it. “Caught…in the net of life and time,” we are in good company, surrounded by more varieties of life than any human mind could imagine. Today I hope you will enjoy sharing a few minutes of your attention with at least one or two of these delightful companions.
One year ago today: