Edd Merritt, contributor
‘Cause I want to live like animals
Careless and free like animals
I want to live
I want to run through the jungle
The wind in my hair and the sand at my feet
“The Animal Song,” Savage Garden
So, what does this land of snow that I’ve been seeing out my back windows indicate?
The white blanket over my backyard shows that a band of living creatures has made my yard their highway to somewhere. Their tracks maneuver through it as though they were heading from point A to point B—and perhaps beyond — with a specific purpose in mind.
Is that purpose to find food? Is it to find kin? Or find a mate? Their tracks enclose the house as though the building might contain the purpose for which they search.
For me that purpose is to better understand other living creatures. Yet, all I can learn about them comes through their tracks through my yard.
Rabbit tracks encircle the house closely. Do these tracks lead to food, a necessity of life, or to mates, another necessity of life? I’m betting food as I see their jaws moving.
Deer seem to be another matter. I see both them and their leftover tracks, using my yard as causeway from my western wood line to my eastern woods. It’s almost as though they smile in my direction as they pass through.
What’s going through a deer’s brain, you wonder? How does it differ from a human brain? Humans take data and cause brain cells to actually change as that data interacts with this system, providing people with what we refer to as “thoughts.”
Often these “thoughts” lead to a purpose, which is unfortunately happening in the former Soviet Union as we speak. Putin and Russia want to reign over the smaller country of the Ukraine.
Interesting or ironic that not too long ago, Charlotte was the home base for secession from the United States. Charlotter Thomas Naylor, an economist by training, felt Vermont should become its own democracy and not a cog in the wheel of the huge U.S. He was aided in this effort by a fellow secessionist and yak farmer. Naylor died before it happened.
So, back to my yard: Place and being offer an interesting interchange. We like to choose our place to live. That was one reason we chose Charlotte. I was working in Rutland when we bought our property in East Charlotte. The property size and house design suited us and we could afford it. Education of our sons was an issue, and Charlotte proved to be the right choice as they moved forward in life through Charlotte Central School and Champlain Union Valley High School. Given quite different personal talents, they have found themselves in different places on earth, doing different things, both successfully.
So, the footprints in my yard show that the deer and I tromp the land for different reasons. I’m reminded often of the fact that as I near the end of this thing called life, I have no idea where I’ll step next. I don’t think I’ll feel that step. Maybe into a galaxy similar to ours in the universe with, probably, billions of creatures similar to human beings.
To follow a cliché, “Man alive, that gives food for thought.”