I’m grateful for the perspectives of animals. I particularly appreciate their views of the world when human perspective (especially my own) is limited or lacking. So often I have a sense that I’m missing something, until I see again through an animal’s eyes, whether wild or domestic.
Out in the forests, I’m reminded by wary wild eyes in the distance how beautiful and dangerous it is, this daring act of being alive. I’m reminded that awareness is deeper than intellect; that inattention may be fatal; that there is no need for apology or self-consciousness in being who we’re meant to be. I recall that there is no distance between ourselves and nature. And I’m tasked to stay humble, knowing that nature may consider me to be no more than another’s meal. Through their differences from me, I’m reminded of the constant, ever-shifting brilliance of aliveness. Billions of forms of life have visited this earth alone, and the skies of endless possibilities begin just beyond the reach of our fingertips.
I celebrate that it isn’t even necessary to walk a single step out the front door to find animals’ wise perspectives. Even a bored house cat sees things I never will, reminding me gently of my perception’s limitations by staring intently at some point of interest I cannot fathom. Pets assist me in recalling how important it is in the middle of the day to pause for a nap in the sunniest available place. They show me through example how fascinating it is to watch uncatchable birds and fish. They give me a guru’s teaching that our greatest life attainment may be to simply sit and purr without worries; without somewhere supposedly more important to go.
I’ve never met an animal—or even an insect—that didn’t have some lesson to offer, some wisdom worth attention. It’s one of the miracles of this world: the more closely we examine one miracle, the more miracles within it appear. Maybe yet another miracle is what the cat is looking at now, through the curves of the beveled glass. Maybe if I watch this moment just a little more attentively myself, I will finally know.