Humanity and opposable thumbs

One thing I could never do is observe a creature in distress and do nothing. I know there is a “rule” of non-interference amongst the real nature photographers out there, but I repeatedly break it.

I have freed moths from cobwebs, rescued snakes, lizards, and frogs from our cats. I have pulled over at 4 in the morning and taken an exit off the interstate because I spotted a frog clinging on to my wing-mirror at 70 mph.

So, no surprise then that every evening I spread out nine dishes of food for our wild friends that are in search of some nibbles at nightfall. It’s a nightly routine now for almost a year and it has brought us in contact with a large range of amazing creatures (Raccoons and Possums, Squirrels and Cardinals, mostly). We have even had a gift left for us in gratitude one night by an appreciative Raccoon, but that is a separate story.

But about six weeks ago, I noticed the lovely lady in these images. She has lost the use of her hind right leg and is very slow moving. It is a disability that would almost certainly lead to starvation and death as her inability to truly forage in competition to her healthier cousins means that her pickings would indeed be slim.

But we started putting out some extra helpings and putting them out earlier and she comes ahead of all the others and gets a good meal before the competition arrives. She will never get back to normal but we have seen some improvement in her mobility. And she seems happily nourished … if these images are anything to go by.

Raccoons are an amazingly intelligent creature and she is particularly keen on the canned ravioli that we mix in with the cat food. They wash their food (if necessary) and generally wash their hands after eating. If these guys had evolved to having opposable thumbs, they would likely rule the world.

Which brings me to my thought of humanity. “Having humanity” used to be an expression which meant that we showed compassion, caring, and concern. It was a single-most quality that genuinely created a protective and constructive environment for communities to evolve and for humans to become “great”. But somehow we seem to have lost our humanity and have mostly become a pestilence to the planet on which we live. Our chosen path is destructive and uncaring and our focus on wealth and greed brings with it a huge price for the planet and our children’s children.

We buy into catch phrases like Make America Great Again without even examining what “great” actually means. In my humble opinion, humanity was once great. Compassion, caring, concern and a little empathy …. Would go a long way to making us great again.

Have a “great” week!

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