Sunday, January 5, 2014

What Is It We See in Each Other

by Christina Carson

Well ask them. If we only could. The magic that draws life toward itself from boy meets girl to these sweet creatures is still one of the universe’s great mysteries. Sometimes we call the attractive force gravity. Other times symbiosis. We really go out on a limb when we call it love for that’s the most mysterious word of all. Who really knows or understands what it is that calls us to each other in harmony, often playfulness and seeming enjoyment.  And yet, it happens over and over again as if beckoning us to look at it more deeply, to grasp its significance, and perhaps to evolve us a bit.

I’ve had my own experience with this uncommon bonding. It involved a Komondor dog and spring chicks. At a time when there were very few Komondors in North America, the small coterie of owners stayed in close touch through a newsletter one member of the group produced. If you don’t know the Komondor as a breed, they are livestock guard dogs, originating in Hungary, huge, fierce
and odd-looking in that they are covered in dreadlocks. They are highly instinctual, stubborn and suffer fools not at all. It was one of these dogs that was found on the porch of its home one spring morning after a night that had turned unseasonably cold. He was lying on his side completely still, literally covered in tiny week-old chicks. They chicks had been housed on the porch, protected from the cold by heat lamps which would have been ample for their needs, only sometime in the middle of the night, the electricity went off.

 In the dark and the cold, these little creatures crawled up onto what should have been their nemesis and nestled into all those thick, fuzzy chords comprising the dog’s coat. The dog stayed in that position long past its normal time to clock in. When the dog’s owner came out onto the porch expecting to find all the chicks dead from cold, she instead saw this huge hairy incubator that began cheeping. When she turned the heat lamp back on, the chicks were lured to their box. The dog managed to get up gently enough that not one chick was tumbled or stepped on in the process.

I've given up on explanations. They tend too quickly toward anthropomorphism, which from my life among animals feels naïve and diminishing. When you live among animals for any length of time, my experience is that you begin to realize how very underdeveloped the human species is. But I do know one thing, looking at those photos at the beginning of this blog or revisiting my own big male Komondor raising two orphan piglets, few happenings on this earth touch me more deeply. They call from within me a memory of the nature of what enlivens us all, the thread of oneness that ties us all together. The beauty of that recognition continues to feed me all these years later.

The coming together of humans is most agreeable too.
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