Saturday, September 29, 2007

Goodbye Flower, We will Miss You


So, here’s the thing. This is embarrassing. People are being killed in Myanmar, genocide is the rule in Darfur and people are starving in the southern part of Africa. Polar bears are dwindling, Bush is doing almost nothing about global warming and what am I reacting to? The death of Flower.

I admit it, I watch Meerkat Manor and a number of times I almost stopped watching it because it was real, characters I found fascinating or moving died. Still, I watched and now I find out the matriarch, Flower, has died. She took a bite from a cobra to protect her young.

I never met this meerkat, she did not know I existed. Still, it is about relationships. In this case, observing her in her relationships with her clan contributed to my caring about her fate. This non-reciprocal relationship is getting to me today.

So, I could stop watching Animal Planet or I could wonder how I can have more relationships, become more aware of other creatures, fellow travelers, our brothers and sisters. Meerkats don’t know squat about me, but we (humans) sure have an impact on the world. Maybe we would consider our actions more carefully if the impact was personal and not diluted by the vastness of the impact.

Perhaps if we had to watch the fate of creatures in the Amazon Basin as the Amazon dries up, if we had to watch polar bears and their young starving to death, fish dying from a lack of oxygen, perhaps then we might be moved to action. My actions or inactions did not contribute to Flower’s death. However, because I watched her, knew of her relationships, I was touched. How much more powerful might it be to watch the impact of our behaviors on our fellow creatures?

Thank you Flower for getting to me.

2 comments:

deb said...

My daughters LOVE this show. They record it to watch with our neighbor's son. The poor boy was so upset over Flower's death that he said that he would never watch the show again! I might have to sit down and watch this show with my daughters, so far I have let them view it by themselves. But between my daughters' enthusiasm for this show and your column, I might give it a shot.

Carl Jylland-Halverson: said...

It is an interesting show. Most of the time it is enjoyable, kind of a documentary/reality show/soap opera! Some times it is hard to watch, the meerkats are not the only creatures in the desert that need to eat! Flower was a great leader. Like most great leaders that means she was not always likable, she would not have been confused for Fred Rogers.Should you decide to watch the show with your daughters be prepared for some sophisticated questions, this is not Saturday morning cartoon time. You'll find yourself talking about the circle of life, family, responsibility, loss and diversity. Let me know how it goes.
Peace,
Carl