[Two very special people have come into my life through blogging. One is Carol Mason, whose lyrical and deeply spiritual writing you’ve already seen in Hand across the distance, Dreams and lessons, and Fellow travelers. The other is Brett Clifton (see Hands of beauty), whose extraordinary photographs of kangaroos come into my inbox every day and increase my appreciation for these glorious creatures. Both are deeply troubled by the attitude of those who see kangaroos and other wildlife as nuisances to be eradicated. Reflecting on the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) government’s decision to cull 2000 kangaroos, Carol wrote a profoundly moving letter. I asked her permission to reproduce it here. Brett has very kindly agreed to allow his photographs to accompany the letter. This is the first of three parts.]
I have long believed that we should be the caretakers of the Earth and of all its inhabitants as we have been spiritually appointed to do. We do not walk the path from our ancient history to future well being successfully without being aware that we do not walk alone. Others beside us come in different forms, but are equally as important.
One cannot but see the beauty of our world, our spaceship on which we live, without being aware of a responsibility to ensure its future and of those upon it with what we do from day to day.
Naturally, one’s focus falls most upon what is closest in our sphere. But the miracle of modern technology is that now we are indeed a global village…we can reach out to those treading paths across the world and, if we are lucky, catch glimpses of their “hearts”.
In our country, the incoming British occupiers so long ago brought many things with them, including foxes and rabbits, for so-called “sport” and food. In recent years a virus was introduced to wipe out rabbits. As a consequence, the foxes have no food on which they depended, nor do the eagles have the same availability, so both have to target introduced species, earning the ire of those who wiped out the rabbits.
I often sense into the “innermost being” which animates us all. One time, a few years ago, a hungry young fox came through our yard. In the torchlight, I saw it and a quiet cat creeping up to touch noses, the young and the innocent expressing so much spirit of acceptance. I began tossing some food to the fox. Gradually we danced circles around one another, trust blossoming on his part, mine already in place. Soon, at dusk, he would come and sit amongst the (rescued) cats, who were jealous, waiting for me.
To feed him, I had to toss a pebble in one direction – the well fed cats raced to that…and he would dart forward, and gently take the meat from my hands. One night a cat tried to smack him and he inadvertently grabbed my thumb a little…the next night he took particular care in taking the meat…not wanting to hurt me. In the bush they live a hard existence.
On the last night that I had with him, I shall never forget the look as he turned, meat in his mouth, trotting away stopped and gazed into my eyes. We both knew it was goodbye. He taught me a little more about not judging the exterior or categorizing someone.
One afternoon, my husband came back for me and the truck – he had been down the back (when he was able to). There was a wild male kangaroo caught in a fence. I got him out, up onto the back of the truck and we started home. He was naturally defensive, having been shot at during his existence by the neighbour. (A lot of farmers still look upon them as “vermin” and expendable). I sheltered, fed and watered him (he was paralysed).
Next morning I went in, he was again aggro in defense….but suddenly stopped, looked at me, reached out and took my hand in both of his (so like ours). At that moment, what came into my mind was the painting in the Sistine Chapel of God’s finger reaching out to mankind. For he had to stop his fearful reaction, decide it was different, think what he wanted to do, reach across between the “apparent” difference in species and decide to thank me.
Many humans could learn from what he did. He demonstrated an intelligence and sensitivity that goes predominantly unnoticed by people looking, not seeing. And commands the deepest respect.