May I take only a paragraph of your time? No?
Well, listening to The Secret Garden in the evenings with the kids reminds me of a midsummer evening about a year ago. We, the family and I, stood in the backyard beneath the nest of the barred owl, Belteshazzar, in our cottonwood. He peered down upon us as a family of rabbits came out to play. The rabbits seemed to be suddenly, in the beauty of the evening, considering us friends as they hopped in amongst us. The vail of fear in wild creatures fell away for a magical few moments as when the robin at MisselThwaite Manor alighted on Ben Weatherstaff’s spade. That summer evening served as a juxtaposing reminder of a quite vivid fear that would take me suddenly in childhood. At that time, knowing animals would contribute to the killing of 1/4 the population of earth (Rev 6:8), a sideways look from a stray cat or maybe a rabbit on the lawn brought a haunting fear of all domestic and wild animals turning on me in a sudden switching off of avoidance and indifference. Is there an animosity that would not only break that barrier of fear like the summer evening, but break it with murderous aggression? Attacking those who rather than tending the garden and subduing creation, tended death and fear at the beginning. Years later, eating breakfast on the lower slopes of Horn Peak in the Colorado Rockies I was introduced to something of a animal prophet in this vein. Many mornings the most cantankerous of black squirrels would place himself just off our deck on a limb of a pine before beginning his ritual berating of the congregation. He scolded, scathed, and derided us with all his might and furry, staring at us with stinging black eyes below his sharp pointed ears. It was the closest I may ever come to Balaam’s Donkey in my life. All this to say something. In every way, animals included, creation waits and groans, sometimes aggressively.
View of Tangier
Oil on Canvas, 1890
Krämer, Johann Viktor