Friday, October 04, 2013

The Way of Saint Francis Redux

I've always liked the traditions of Saint Francis of Assisi. Not only did he --Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone, who lived between circa 1181 and 1226 A.D. -- develop a peaceful and open worldview, but it turns out his appreciation of the environment and its animal denizens may be as scientifically valid as it is valid philosophically, poetically, ethically and spiritually.

Have you seen or read about the breakthrough studies of birds and rats in recent years? The bird studies (of crows and pigeons) indicate facial recognition -- these birds seem to be able to detect familiar human faces and can determine between friendly and hostile based on earlier interactions, while rats empathize with other rats, helping them escape miniature prison cells and generally lending a paw to those in need.

Not that strange, really, but certainly cool to think about. I can attest that birds in Texas seem "happy" (and relieved) every time I fill up a bird bath during the ongoing drought, for instance. They are watching from nearby trees and bushes, no question. There's little doubt they'd have been very happy to see Saint Francis coming around -- something anyone can emulate at least to some degree even now.  

Saint Francis reminds me of the Buddha in his consistently kindly actions. And now we can enjoy Pope Francis I as he performs wonders of his own. 

Today's Rune: Fertility.   


Charles Gramlich said...

I remember watching a whole documentary on the recognition capabilities of crows. Smart devils for sure.

jodi said...

Erik-who knew? I have heard that rats make good pets and that is probably why! I'll stick to my Lola kitty, thank you very much!