“She followed this herd of elephants for one of her books. They would travel for miles to this cliff and just stand on it gazing out over the valley below. She posed the question in her book, if it is every living creatures desire to see beauty.”
“That sounds beautiful. I often wonder the same.”
The book in my hand was written by an anthropologist by the name of Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. She spent years observing various creatures. Deer. Cats. Dogs. Elephants. I had the book The Tribe of Tiger in my hand about the culture of cats and understanding their behavior. The woman assured me that I would enjoy the writing style. She seemed like my kind of person. A trustworthy bookworm that swore to read every book donated to her used book store before she ever put it on the shelf. She was reading an old one behind the counter when I came to ask about payment methods.
I recalled going to PetCo once after getting my nails done. The tropical fish were beautiful, and as I pointed at one I noticed it focus on the brilliant glitter on my finger nail. It followed my finger as I moved it across the glass. Mesmerized. I wondered if it was amused by the shine, the color, or if it just thought it was something to eat and wanted a nibble. I went from aquarium to aquarium and found at least a hand full of fish at each would do the same. I thought it funny at the time but, her words made me wonder if all creatures did desire beauty.
I love animals. I have two cats and a dog of my own, and I find felines fascinating and complex. They feel so human. Dogs have a blind obedience that comes across as ignorant and foolish to me. At least, for some dogs. My dog on the other hand is more complex and thoughtful than I had ever thought dogs to be. She chooses more or less, what she wants to do. When she wants to do it. Most of the time you can catch her thinking. Watch the worry wrinkles on her forehead and the depth of her eyes as she introspects. She can be a sneaky one. Perhaps I would find the book The Hidden Life of Dogs and read it too. But, cats? They were an enigma. I could never quite tell what Shelby or Oliver was thinking. I once predicted, while I was eating a granola bar watching my brothers play video games, that Oliver would jump on the couch, climb slowly across the back of our shoulders, and then try to grab a bite if my granola bar. I was correct. He even tried to use his paws to grab it closer so he could bite it. That is the only time I am able to predict Oliver’s movements. When food is involved. Shelby offers little to no indicators.
I suppose food is a kind of beauty too right? I mean it’s not always beautiful in that it’s ascetically pleasing, but there is beauty in the chemistry. Perhaps the bookshop owners words have gotten to me too much, and now I’m looking for something that may not be there, but I do enjoy pondering such behaviors.
I am merely a creature seeking beauty. Beauty in myself. Beauty in the world around me. Beauty in God and the future. I desire that. I desire that kind of beauty. To be in intimate relationship with all things good and beautiful. I think that is how I survive. I survive to seek beauty, because there is so little of it left in the world. It is why I design. It is why I write. Perhaps I am one of many. Perhaps I am one of few. All I know is there are creatures in this world seeking beauty.