years ago I walked on King Offa's dyke in the marches between England and
Wales. Distracted by the Welsh horizon, I missed the path and found
myself lost amongst those folds in land were bracken and sheep
compete. There, by a rocky stream, I saw a Dipper searching the cold
running water for delicious things to eat.
He was engrossed and mostly he ignored me. I watched him for hours
in the rain, as up and down the running water he went. But sometimes
he would glance in my direction, and our eyes would meet as he paused
perhaps to wonder.
I think probably it is unnatural
to think in terms of man and beast sharing that established relational
moment of 'eyes meeting'. It is not an affair of boy and girl, there
is no potential for acceptable copulation, there can be no offspring, no
two-car garage, no future in that sense of future that has made hominoids
And yet I will argue this moment
exists. Between man and beast, 'eyes meet'. An anticipatory
reaction, ingrained into the codes of the isolated being that is me, which recognizes shape, form and movement as belonging to a universal in my
world. I interpret it as camaraderie. And sometimes I can hear
myself coo when I see the children of furry things. This especially if
they grow into cats.
Whether I am right or wrong is of no
importance, because too often the distinction between right and wrong is a
constructed one. A matter of book work. As well, whether there
is reciprocation, is of no importance, because I am an element in the
whole. I have status as a thing among many things.
I do know that sometimes in the
vegetable garden I can look at an eggplant or a tomato vine and suffer this
same interpretation of a relational moment. And if by some queer
chance this confluence in emotion strikes a spiritual note, better to think
again. Like lamb in spring, eggplant and tomato in July can also cause
me to respond in that manner Pavlov turned notorious.