ZOOO


ZOOO

    Hiking, strolling the beaches, wandering the paths, meandering along the drying green fields of the terrestrial biosphere, got to sleep last night at 4:30 AM; there was a deer, an adult buck standing on two hind legs, reaching up to the loquat tree in the front yard, eating, foraging around the ivy. In the burbs, nobody bothers the deer at 4 in the morning. Yesterday, I was walking on a fireroad trail back along the county watershed. Looking down at my feet, I watched some small black ants crossing the dirt road. There was also this 1/4" long, off-white, multi-segmented worm-like creature with a reddish round head and tiny legs. At first he/she/it looked like he/she/it was wandering around aimlessly, but after observation, it became apparent that he/she/it was engaged in a specific task: searching for small seed-like stalks approximately 1/8" long, upon discovery and grasping with something resembling a mouth, were then transported into a small round hole in the ground slightly wider than the diameter of his/her/its own body. This procedure was repeated several times by the creature, as I subsequently observed around and above the area a 4' foot long gopher snake, quick lizards, several large black ground beetles, a horse with rider, a few whizzing cyclists, a helicopter, and a red jet with silver wings. Elapsed time on the entire walk: perhaps 45 minutes. It's truly amazing how easy it is for me, sometimes, to forget how interesting life and 'stuff-in-a-universe' can be.     --MT [June 14, 2003]

    On the outskirts of a city there's a reservoir in a watershed among hills and trees. Sometimes late at night, I'll drive along the narrow winding road just to see the wildlife that comes out: owls, raccoons, foxes, bobcats, skunks, but mostly deer come out to wander near the road's edge. I always drive the posted 25 MPH speed limit because I'm never in a hurry on this heavily populated watershed at night under the trees, clouds and stars. Sometimes along the shoulder a deer will watch the oncoming headlights. I always lower my highbeams for their eyes as if they are drivers themselves. Occasionally, I get a sense that they register something otherworldly in their experience, as a pair of lights approach, dim, pass by with a whoosh of air and Doppler shifting receding sound. I'm almost willing to say that there are some deer who specifically settle in on this road's edge just to see the night lights.
Not everyone drives the speed limit, the results are saddening but fortunately rare in number, and roadkill is quickly consumed. The deer that do play this game of observation intrigue me. I wonder what occurs for them neurologically, physiologically, to see these strange lights at night? If they could somehow integrate the sensory awareness of another species' technology into their lives, how would they do it? What tools would they employ to even remember? I suspect they would be confined to using only the tools of their own world; not the tools of halogen bulbs, direct current, transmissions, and auto manufacturers. The raccoons, however, I think might be up to something, what with their opposable thumbs and secretive, aggressive ways.     --MT [21 May, 2009]
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