All the beasts

I photographed this elephant at Disney's Animal Kingdom, August 2003.

I photographed this elephant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, August 2003.

“If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit…”
— attributed to Chief Seattle

The oft-quoted words above were purportedly from a letter written by Chief Seattle to President Franklin Pierce. At least one historian has researched and dismissed the authenticity of this claim, and his arguments against its supposed provenance are rather convincing.

However, the quote lives on because the beauty of the words have the ring of truth to many of us.  Animals are not only an adornment to our world; they are essential for its survival.  With photo and video technology, we have a front-row seat for viewing the diversity of the animal kingdom.  The stunning variety of their appearance, behaviors and habits are a never-ending source of fascination for those of us who enjoy watching creatures who share this planet with us.

Just as the fictional wizard Merlin taught the young Arthur about life by turning him into various animals, so we too have much to learn from the beasts.  I’m thankful I’ve been able to watch all sorts of animals wherever I’ve lived and traveled, and while films will never replace the thrill of seeing them face to face, I’m grateful for digital glimpses of the inhabitants of regions all over the world.   Cheers for the marvelous photography and painstaking research of humans who dedicate their lives to learning more about our animal friends.

A link to the video below was sent to me by one of the readers in this online community.  When I watched it, I thought of the quote above, because I did feel less lonely in spirit as I watched the movements and expressions of the video’s stars.  Many of them are not the first animals we think of when we talk about the delights of “critters,” but this clip captures the amazingly wide array of life on earth by focusing in closely on just a few examples, and each is beautiful in its unique way.

Today, I hope this video will spark fond memories of animals you’ve seen or loved, and gratitude for their presence with us here on earth, sharing and dispelling the loneliness of existence.

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia! That video is beautiful!
    Not at all creepy, like that PBS program with the spy animals (robotic animals with webcams infiltrating natural animal packs). Scary.
    Last night I saw a cute video someone posted on Facebook with the totally fictitious caption “Watching a beaver eating cabbage reduces stress by 17%”.
    I found the video on YouTube here:

    It worked for me!
    I hope you have a low stress day!

    • Hey! That’s what I look like when someone sets a plate of cookies in front of me! I didn’t realize beavers had fingers. Wow, I had not heard of that robotic animal video, but it does sound creepy! What is the name of that program? Matt loves animal programs AND PBS so he might already be watching it.

      • Hi Julia, yes, I was surprised by the beaver fingers, too.
        The name of the PBS program is “Spy in the Wild.” I’d be interested in Matt’s opinion… I wonder if he thinks it’s creepy, too?

        • I’ll try to look for that. Being of a generation that grew up with technology in some form, he might not find it creepy at all, but it’s hard to say. It’s interesting to wonder what the animals think of these “spies.” Does the show deal with that at all?

          • The show does show how the animals respond to the spy animals a little. Some animals just ignore it while other species seem to dislike something about it. Eventually they either ignore it or tear it apart.

            • For some reason this comment reminded me of the primitive humanoids who discover the monolith in 2001 A Space Odyssey.

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