Animal Instincts

Out in the fields with Lyra today I was admiring her running, all windswept fur over really quite powerful muscles, then slowing down to confident, positively Chauserian, sashay of the hips. I thought back to two Alsatian pups we met by the lake a few days ago. Their gait couldn’t have been be more different. There was something almost delicate in their high stepping, arched back, lope yet you could immediately imagine how, in the chase, this restraint could unscroll into a roiling swarm over the landscape. Both beautiful I think, but if I had to explain why in each case it would be a totally different feature that I found arresting. I bumbled along mulling this over and thought to myself a little wryly that in recent times there seems to have been a popular rediscovery of the beauty to be found in nature in all its diversity whilst at the same time as we have lost that with our own species – where increasingly it seems that we have reduced the concept to a reified and restricted “official” template and, reality proving hard to fit within this, then retreated behind cartoon avatars and filters. How strange we can be.

I walked on, sun on my back, admiring the curve of the hill written in furrows and amused myself peering into the hedgerow for signs of spring. Lyra found a deer to chase and perhaps worked off some part of the cat food she had sneaked earlier. My meandering wits, though, kept returning to this topic like a tongue to an aching tooth. Why should it be that we seem to understand that we can find our own personal sense of beauty in the shiny swell of frogspawn or the tracery of a leaf skeleton or the line of a ditch but we feel the need outsource the evaluation of ourselves and our kind? Have we perhaps forgotten we are part of nature and it might just be permissible to trust our instincts here too?

Did anyone ever really find their heart leap when someone matched the ideal? Or was it rather the shape of a hand, an archipelago of freckles, a particular set of the shoulders leaning into a walk, a tuneless hum or slightly spicy scent? All very particular and personal and incapable of reduction to a general guinea stamp. We never do really experience what anyone else does. Our loves and hates are utterly subjective. My blue is not your blue and if my singing is any guide I definitely don’t hear what you hear. If many people love the same thing, each may be loving an entirely different aspect, or the same one perceived entirely differently. Art is a realm, perhaps the only one, where you can give away your cake and still have it. You can throw a form or an image or a sound or a shape or a stream of words out into the world for everyone to take what they will from it (though you can’t dictate what they will find there) and yet you still have your own version yourself.

These are my meanderings on early spring walks I fear. There are also random pictures though from today and yesterday at the beach – see what you like….I shall aim to be less dippy when next I type

One thought on “Animal Instincts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: