Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Brief Blossoming. A Very Best Friend. Food for Thought.

Several incidents in the past week, caused me in quick succession to, marvel, catch my breath, and shed a tear, at courage and question some collective values.

 First was the too brief blossoming of our cherry tree. Always a marvel of nature. But this year a cool wet spring following a record snow-fall winter delayed its unfurling by more than a week. Each day I gazed from my studio window, anticipating the cloud of pale pink organza that wraps the tree. Refuge and food for birds who snack on its berries and from our bird feeders hung from its branches, the tree is a valediction of nature’s re-birth and joyful beauty.

 This year the blossoming was a more than a week late and after rain and one exceptionally windy day, all those fragile petals carpeted the ground.

 Thankfully it will continue to offer protection for the chickadees, sparrows and thrushes, we will keep the feeders full and come October the berries will again provide food.

 An incredible journey proved once again that a dog can be humans’ best friend. Much as I love my cats I gasped at the story of Mason, the rangy terrier caught up in the Alabama tornado and flung far from his family, home and familiar surroundings. Not only this but badly injured. How he crawled back home on two mangled front legs is almost beyond belief. But he did. Here come the tears again.

 First reports made me cry even more. The story was his family was giving him up for adoption as they could not keep him while rebuilding their home  and own lives.  My yoga training teaches me not to judge, but my heart broke. Is not Mason part of their lives? Was it possible to go without something to provide for him? I know from years volunteering with Humane Societies and animal rescue organisations, the double pain Mason would go through. Also studies show how much comfort animals offer us in painful times.

I too have been in a similar situation. Many years ago moving back to live in Britain, quarantine was still in effect – six months of it. I had four cats and had arranged for two of them to fly back and go through the required kennelling. Almost immediately I realised I could not choose, I had no right to condemn two of my companions, my responsibilities to the uncertainties of hoping for another forever home. I knew older animals have a very low rate of adoption, and like a child a pet is for life. I did not have much money but I immediately arranged to take all four. Never for a moment did I regret it. Three of them returned to Canada with me some years later – and amazingly after two trans-Atlantic flights still loved me.

 A day ago reports were that Mason’s family will be waiting for him when his legs have healed. That is when everyone, and Mason will heal.

 On the same day that I heard hockey fans may be prepared to pay $196,000 for a box from which to watch games when the Xxxx Xxxx move to Winnipeg, I read that 925 million people in this world of ours go hungry every day. That’s not even thinking of the people who do not have access to clean water, adequate medical treatment and shelter.

 I question our priorities, but most of all I question our collective responsibility to humanity. Do we care, really care? Can people not pay less? Sit in the bleachers, miss a game or two? And give to others.

 And, yes, I do donate whenever I can and encourage my students to do so.

May all sentient beings be free from suffering   The Buddha.

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