Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark Roast, Trader Joe’s brand
I spent the morning watching one of my favorite things: videos of porcupines playing in wildlife conserves.
What a life – a big fluffy buck-toothed burrower; unhugable; ignorant of your own best features.
It’s easy to see the Human capacity for violence these days. When big-wigs trade devastating egos like baseball cards; when fat men take everything they can claw from young women; there’s blood on your shoulders and blood on mine, every brick of every city has someone’s suffering pushed in it.
But that’s not what makes us special.
Snickers the porcupine climbed up his keeper’s leg, arm, and onto his head. He nibbled the guy’s hair and dug claws. The guy’s white skin got pink by the end of it. He was very gentle with Snickers. Eventually, he let Snickers down.
Porcupines can love, but only blithely: they look for bark, trees, affection, warmth, good-positive-things, but don’t know how to give. They’ll eat what they can and make do to survive. Most of the life on Earth works this way. Lovely and powerful as it might be, it’s self or family-centered, eyes on the prize of survival.
In our Human hearts, we’ve got the same impulses, and all of us – at one time or another – acts on them; but unlike porcupines we don’t have to treat the world as a checklist of uses. We can choose to Love even when nothing’s coming back to us.
Violence reminds me of the animal blood in me. Snickers the porcupine tells me I have the subtly divine power to choose to be better.
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson
“I am going to the USA to catch sight of a wild porcupine and to give some lectures.” – Sigmund Freud
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