Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cruelty and life

Sometimes I marvel at the earth's unending cruelty. I realize I'm wallowing in cliché--"Nature, red in tooth and claw," etc.--but the observation still strikes with a lot of power if you spend time wandering around the world with your eyes open. You could stop every war, pacify every violent home, reform every Michael Vick or Sarah Palin, and the planet would still writhe continually with the suffering necessary to life.

A few days ago, Dave told me that a friend's little dog had been taken by a coyote. The dog was a cossetted pet, completely unprepared to battle for his life against a canine cousin. He had no experience of predators. I wonder what his diminished instinct told him in the moment the coyote struck.

Yesterday I saw a little dead vole along the trail. It had been bitten cleanly in half, probably by an owl. The head and upper body were missing. The remaining back end had been invaded by ants, which were frantically excavating the innards, leaving the hide, feet and tail intact. The little guy had been preyed upon twice.

When I got home, I looked out the window to check on my spider. She had captured a fat moth, and was sucking out his life with the usual arachnidian concentration. I watched a while and wondered what death is to a moth.

Kingfisher photo by Marek Szczepanek from Wikimedia Commons.

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