The other day as I was driving to work, I noticed a bird in flight, and how it had to quickly change direction to avoid the car in front of me. Funny as it seems, a thought came to me that if this bird had lived in a different time in history, it would never have had to watch out for the car. in times past, there may have been a wagon or a horse, but if you go back far enough, people had to walk, and so even if they were running, they could not have gone as fast as the car in front of me that was in all reality going pretty slow, by today’s standards. Even the light poles we all take for granted wouldn’t have existed back then. Now lights and wires seem normal to the birds. They land on them as if they were a tree or a rock…or as if they were put there just for them. Often, we think about what life might have been like if we had lived in a different time in history, but rarely do we think of what the animals might have thought as the times changed.
Consider the horses at the time in history when the car was developed. They would often turn away, rear up, or run in the opposite direction when cars first appeared on the road. Then as time passed, the cars seemed no more strange that the person riding on the horses back or the wagon the horse was harnessed to. They were simply another object that the horse now lives in the same world with. And so it was with the bird. Granted the bird had to swiftly make a course change, but that did not mean the bird feared the car. The two of them were just traveling in a direction that put them in the same space at the same time, much like a car accident would.
Animals even get used to the people who share the same space. Take, for instance, the deer that many people…at least in Wyoming, have in our yards, and while they may not let us walk all the way up to them, they do not get up and run out of our yard in fear, but rather, watch us cautiously. Even the squirrels in my yard don’t necessarily run from us. As Bob and I walked out to our garage this morning to go the breakfast, a squirrel playing near the garage stopped and looked at us. I talked to it, and still it stood there…not five feet from me. The fear of people had long since let this squirrel, possibly because of the fact that it has lived in this area all of its life, but more likely that my neighbors have long had a habit of feeding the squirrels. I suppose many people would not like the idea of feeding the squirrels, but the ones in our neighborhood don’t seem to damage the trees like the ones in other neighborhoods. Maybe because the neighbors feed them…who knows. Whatever the case may be, I can say that much has changed in the things the animals have seen as time has gone by. Like humans, they have adapted to it…getting used to the changes and seeing them as normal now. Maybe they even think, as I do, “Look how far we have come.”