In the BBC Planet Earth documentary series, there is an episode about a group of fish called “schooling fish” swimming together to confuse predators. The stalker, like a shark, can’t pick out an individual fish, and therefore, the chances of the whole group getting away are greatly increased. Herring are among the more spectacular schooling fish aggregating in great numbers with chains of schools reaching 100 miles long.
Emperor Penguins huddle together for warmth to survive the brutal Antarctic winters. Alone they would die. Together they survive. Wolves live in packs where group members help with hunting, caring for the young, and defending their territory. Sea otters stick together forming groups called rafts by literally holding hands to escape hunters. Several thousand honeybees cooperate in building nests, collecting food, and rearing their brood. Geese fly together in a perfect V formation adding 71% more flying range than if they flew on their own.
The 17th-century English author John Donne wrote: No man is an island, entire unto itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. Meaning people are not isolated islands but connected.
That poem has meant a lot to me over the years and has become even more noteworthy with the move and the changes that come with settling into my new place. I used to live on several acres of property bordering forest service land. It was quiet. Dark at night. We rarely had visitors at the end of the end of a small road. Deer, wild turkey, elk, an occasional bobcat, and even a mountain lion grazed through the area we called home.
I now live in a community on the outskirts of a small town. Hiking trails abound nearby but are not in my front yard. Conveniences are only a mile or two away. It takes a few minutes to drive to the grocery store. Neighbors are on all sides of my house with only a few feet of space to distinguish property lines. My backyard is small. My husband and I talked about creating a beautiful garden there. A postage-sized piece of heaven.
But that’s for later. For now, I am learning how to live in a community. How to genuinely wave to my neighbors and engage in a conversation about banding together to blow out our sprinkler systems or who’s bringing what to the next gathering. I’ve signed up for a few events and I’m looking forward to our community meeting next week.
I’m feeling a bit like one of those fish or perhaps one of those sea otters. Holding hands with my neighbor. Supporting one another. Regarding the whole human family as one. Friends with the world. Connected. Linked in.
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone to create many ripples. M. Theresa
Enjoy the Passage of Time!
© 2023. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved