Yesterday, I was sitting near a window, reading Julie of the Wolves. This is rare, this sitting and reading… more rare than I’d like. Our little dog though had just returned from surgery (the kind that will prevent his ever attaining fatherhood) and he needed some quiet company.
So we sat and I read and petted him. I was thinking, of course, about Julie’s adventures with the wolves and how she had to learn to communicate with them in their own language. I was also thinking about our Jasper and how he has instincts all his own. He knows that he is supposed to claim his bit of earth. He knows that something deep in him is wary of larger animals, especially male dogs and those towering humans. He knows that we are his pack and he knows his rank among us. He knows these things without having been told. Something inside him understands without words.
As we sat there I happened to look up from my reading and out the window. A male house finch was perched near a bird house which hangs by a bit of rope-like twine. He deftly removed one long strand and flew away. He will not build his nest, but he will supply much of the material to his mate. His job will be gathering and singing – his version of provision and protection. No one told him it was time to do this. No one told him how. He just knows – a deep, inexplicable, wordless knowledge that he cannot, would not, disregard.
All of this has me thinking. Where have our instincts gone?
Don’t get me wrong, I do realize that some of the most wonderful things about humankind are results of our ability to rise above our instincts. We will help the weak or the needy without regard for our own preservation. We will make beautiful music, poetry and art that have little to do with our survival. We have the ability to reason and think beyond our biology.
in all our ability to think past the great drive to preserve our genetics, I wonder if have we LOST the ability to listen to our instincts?
I think of how long it took me, when my first child was new, to stop listening to the advice and reading the books and summon up my own powers of instinct. I think of how often I still wonder if I am doing the right thing. A mother wolf never wonders, does she?
I think how so often I find myself chasing after an idea, forcing an issue, long after, deep down, I knew I was going the wrong way. All those birds and butterflies beginning now to head north – they never doubt the direction they’ve taken, do they?
I wonder just what I would know, what we all would know, if we were able to hear those long forgotten voices within. That voice we call instinct. I wonder what it would be like to just know.
I hope that you’ll join me over at Simple Homeschool today. I’ve written my first post there and it flows nicely into this discussion of instinct. It’s all about RE-finding your homeschooling direction when you seem to have lost your way. I think that really it is a great topic of discussion for all parents, not just homeschoolers.