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Nothing More is Needed - on caring for our animals (and ourselves)

Fundamentals

Food, water, air, sunlight, cycles, rest, work, play, love, death.

Copyright © 2011 Christine M. King. All rights reserved.

Work

i
Intelligent life needs work.
Ah, but not toil or drudgery.
That’s not work; it’s slavery,
Working for someone else’s benefit alone.

Intelligent life thrives
On work that is engaging,
Work that is a joy.

To be a joy, work must be appropriate,
Work must be productive,
And work must be rewarding.

When work is a joy, life is a joy.
When work is tedious or troublesome,
So is life.

Boredom is destructive to intelligent life.
The intelligence of life must be put to good use.
Self-sustaining and creative use.

ii
What work do wild animals do?

They feed themselves,
House and otherwise protect themselves,
Raise their young, and adapt their surroundings
To better suit them.

It is not tedious work, nor troublesome.
Nor boring.
And it is not all-consuming, as we shall see.
It is life itself, taking good care of itself.

iii
Take care to avoid work that is excessive,
Exhausting, or injurious.
There is no wisdom in “No pain, no gain.”
No wisdom at all. And no truth.

To the best of your ability,
Provide work that your animals enjoy.
And provide opportunities for your animals
To take good care of themselves.
For that is good work.

Play

i
Play is as essential to life
As work.

In fact, play may be fundamentally
What life is all about, what life is up to.
Why else all the exuberant variety,
All the splendid silliness?

ii
Work that is playful is blessed.
Play that is productive is blessed.
But play that is purposeless
Is divine.

Its purpose is in its purposelessness,
Its pointlessness, its end unto itself.
Its purpose is in its lightness, its freedom,
For therein is its life.

iii
Do wild animals play?
Need you even ask?

Consider the otter,
Idling down the stream on his back,
His furry little tummy soaking up the sun.

Consider the hawk,
Wings outstretched, paragliding
Lazily on a thermal updraft and gazing for miles.

Consider the fox cubs
Playing dungeons and dragons
While their mother looks on, kind, indulgent, smiling.
Need I go on?

iv
Play often. And to the best of your ability,
Provide your animals with plenty of opportunities
For play. Silly, pointless, purposeless play.
For therein one savors the essence of life.

My dog and her friends taught me this, the
Essentiality of play, and how to throw oneself
Wholeheartedly into play, as if
Our very lives depend upon it.

Oh, the sorrowful expression on her face
When I say I don’t have time for play today.
I think she feels very sorry for me at these times.
I think she may be right.
(Amazing how she knows best.)

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