- Anatole France -
Of course my mom knew, as all the moms knew, that even though Teddy was just cotton stuffing, she was also the embodiment of the original, the primal bear, the she bear, the female bear, the protectress. And so in this way, the genetic memory that made us brothers and sisters to our fellow creatures was kept vital, as it was perpetually honored by women with young.
As children we conversed with these plush beings, we asked their advice, we became members of the bear clan, the penguin clan, the lion clan, the wolf clan. We slept with them, we cuddled them, we carried them with us throughout the day. We were indifferent to their various anatomical forms. We were them and they were us. We loved them; the teddy bears, the striped tigers, the woolly lambs, the long-limbed orangutans, the floppy-eared dogs, the yellow chicks, the black and white ponies, the long-trunked elephants, the pointy-snouted dolphins, the lime-green turtles. It is a strong link to dissolve, our connection to animals.
Could it be that we are pulled away too quickly from these friends who are made in the images of the animals that surround us? I fear that in some way, if we do not hold them dear within our hearts, we may feel that they have abandoned us, in a strange psychological twist- for it is actually us who abandons them, with a kind of obsessive, egocentric, homo sapienism. How can we begin life so in tune with these allies, and then grow out of respect, caring, wonder, and love of animals?
Is this why we can shoot elephants and hack out their ivory, leave horses to starve and die in frigid temps, abandon moon bears to small cages for their bile, endanger parrots during illegal export for the exotic pet trade, run puppy mills, enslave chimps and bunnies for the drug and cosmetic trade, shoot rhinos for sport, slice off shark's fins while leaving them to die, poison coyotes with cyanide, entrap wolves and fox and marten and raccoon and anything else that might happen by, resulting in three-legged animals after they chew off their feet; there must be some explanation for this conduct!
Make friends with the other creatures that live on this planet once again. May I suggest choosing a soft plush. Feel her velvety features. Smile back at her all-knowing face. Pick her up and hold her close, and- never let her go.
"Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are."
"Goodnight Theodora, I love you!"
- Pam Brown -
(all my relations)