Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The simple joy of being alive

This elk calf feels it.

(Video link)

I'm reminded of Edward Hoagland's essay, "Endgame," from the June 2007 Harper's Magazine. I blogged about it here, here's an excerpt from the original:

But what did inspire our sense of beauty? My hunch is that, like our intelligence, it's an outgrowth of a gradual refinement of existing rudiments in other creatures.... Do the species that wear the splendid plumage or coats of fur or superb scaly camouflage we admire not feel an equivalent ebullience at the sight of one another, too? Not merely lust or rivalry, in other words, but something of what Emerson expressed in his essay: that "ecstacy is the law and cause of nature...."

And when we present long-stems on Valentine's Day, are we sharing something deep-seated in common with insects? ... As that vixen carried her young about in her mouth, how different were her feelings from a mama crocodile doing the same; or a human mother's protective hug? And when a drought ends in the desert and toothsome rains begin to fall, is just the pick-and-shovel prospector, with perhaps his donkey, happy? Do other living things only process the new conditions mechanistically? Or if antelope, bighorn sheep, cactus wrens, peccaries, and coatimundis experience a surge of gladness, does the chucawalla, the sidewinder, and the desert tortoise also?

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Blogger TomS said...

Hi Michael,
We seem to be on a simlar wavelength, post-wise. I wrote a short piece last night about the lessons I learned about happiness from observing a very special little basset hound. Hope you'll check it out. Thanks for your post. ~Tom

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Wow. Amazing. How do we, as humans, get back into this mindset?

I happened on your blog after goggling Michelangelo and the Inquisition, doing a bit of personal research.

Randomness ROCKS!

2:41 AM  

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