Today, it warmed my heart when a group of kids came to me with a little tree frog that they wanted to help. It was in a high traffic area of a playground, and they were concerned that it might get trampled by kids at play who might overlook the tiny frog. One of the kids, whom I know to be very interested in wildlife and good at gentle capture, joined hands with me. Together we held the frog, so it would not escape. We found a suitable branch and leaf for the critter, far enough away from any crowds. The frog jumped onto the kid’s shirt, as if to show its gratitude, and then into his palm. The frog then slowly climbed up onto the tree branch. The kids all cheered and returned to the playground, happy.
This got me thinking that the key to future conservation of wildlife and habitats is in teaching young people to value, respect, and act kindly towards nature. Today, I saw it in action! Whether its tree frogs, alligators, orangutans, or dolphins, we need to consider wildlife’s well being in all that we do. Let’s not only share this message with other adults. Let’s teach the next generations, as well!
I’ve been thinking about and discussing calm energy with friends and colleagues a lot recently. I’ve come to learn over the years that animals are very good at sensing calm, non-threatening energy in people, as well as aggressive energy. It’s likely part of their survival instincts.
I was treated to a real-life example of this when I visited a local touch tank aquarium. For educational and outreach purposes, they offer hands-on encounters with “friendly” creatures. The animals, however
generally get to choose if they want to participate or not. One such animal was a bamboo shark.
I was honored when one of the sharks left its nook among rocks to swim over and check me out. She rested her chin in my palm. There was no food involved, so it was purely at will, perhaps out of curiosity. After a few minutes, she returned to her rocks, out of reach of the other visitors. The next day, she paid me a repeat visit. Mind you, I simply waited at pool’s edge, quietly and calmly.
That is nothing extraordinary, as I know of many human-animal encounters like this. All the same, I felt special and honored. It is much like our beloved gators, when they allow us to be in their presence. They seem to know we mean no harm. Maybe they are as curious about us as we are of them. I hope I always give off a good energy.
I must add that this aquarium was one of my sister’s favorite places to visit! I can understand why. The staff and animals are super-friendly, and they teach people about conservation of wildlife and habitats. It is now one of my favorite places, too.
Lately, when I feel the call to be out in nature alone, I also feel that I’ve been given a job—that of litter collector.
Yes, it disturbs my peaceful Zen moment with the plants and creatures of the forest, but I cannot refuse. Today, for example, I went to an alligator habitat to view the inhabitants. I heard the osprey before seeing any. There was no sign of a gator, other than a slide and a few tracks left behind at water’s edge. All was still, apart from an osprey’s call and distant thunder from an approaching storm. Happily, I only found one piece of trash, an aluminum drink can. With my grabbers, I collected it and went on my way. I did, however, find a plastic bucket in a nearby area. I filled it with trash. I later added more litter to the bag with the can from yet another nearby gator habitat. Items like plastic cups, masks, pipes, bottles, cans, and wrappers were removed from nature and disposed of in a secure trash receptacle.
As the afternoon thunderstorm approached more closely, a “small” female gator appeared as if to thank me. I think it was “Olive Oil.” Seeing her was all the reward I needed for the sweaty, dirty job I’d performed.
I continue to pray that people will be more responsible and more respectful of nature. I hope they will carefully dispose of their trash and create less of it. Until then, I suppose I’ll travel with my grabbers!
I was thinking about how amazing it is that alligators have survived on our planet for so many years.
What lessons can we take away from this?
Is it that they have such thick skin? They also have a soft side.
Is it that they are so observant of their surroundings?
If you’ve ever spent time around alligators, you may notice how perceptive they are, and how they spend a lot of time watching and learning from what is going on around them. Alligators don’t fight against their surrounding conditions. They make the most of what is in their world. They soak up the sun and warmth. They bask on the shore. They rest, hidden, when necessary. Alligators work together or go solo when it is best for them. Survival success!
Is it their quick reflexes and calculated survival skills?
Whatever it is, I believe we as humans can take a lesson from these magnificent creatures! And rather than trying to remove them from their own environment, because we want to live in a certain place, let’s coexist. I believe humans and gators can live without danger from one another. People should be gator-aware and gator-smart. It’s no different from living anywhere else, because there are always predators in a balanced ecosystem. Awareness and respect are the keys to coexistence and survival.
So, let’s take a lesson from the alligators:
Slow down and look around you. Take it all in. See the world through the jewel-like eye of an alligator!