The Solitary Animal

With all the bickering there is in this world, it seems to be fundamentally, mostly about groups. About taking sides,

There’s this generation and that one. Republicans and Democrats. Conservatives and liberals. Black people and white. Red, brown and yellow. Men and women or whatever you feel like being today. Straight or gay, or once again, whatever you feel like being today. Christians, Moslems, Jews, agonistics and anesthetists. Then there is cops and there’s robbers, and there’s murderers.

Who do you like, and who do you hate?

I suppose I align myself with certain groups although I am by my very nature, one who find his own path, and lives by his own beliefs. Often that means, that nobody agrees with me.

While politically and religiously I am most definitely aligned with specific groups, I am often the first to criticize them. Most of the  time, I just need to walk my own walk. Win, lose or draw.

Even as a kid, I struggled with “group dynamics”. I did not want to be like everybody else, but I didn’t necessarily want to be different. I played Little League baseball for exactly three games. I never joined in school groups. I never participated in Homecoming or the Prom.

I have always had friends, sometimes quite a few, but I identified with only a few of them, and even then frequently sought out time alone. As the years went on, I often found solace and friendship with my dogs or horses. No politics, no rules, just friendship when it comes to animals.

I once helped bring a union to a place of business. One year later, I helped remove that same union. They were both group activities, but one led to independent thought. No group think. Today the world runs on group think.

I mention all of this because I, like many in today’s world, often find myself on one side of the political/social battleground, but often I feel like I am still alone, and that my side would be better off without me. I may agree with several members of my side, but often not with the larger group.

I would suggest that I and those like me, would be better off joining up together, but of course, that would meet with the same fate as other attempts and would make us a part of a crowd. Soon we would be on our own trail again. Wondering what went wrong.

So for all who fail to comprehend group dynamics, I guess we’ll just find our own path as usual.

One step at a time.

Wild animals often belong to and depend on a group. Herds, prides, packs, swarms, and on. Still, in every group that I have watched or photographed, there are some who hang out on the edges, or simply go it alone.  It seems that “all God’s children” are unique and different.  Photographing animals in groups and while they are interacting is of course always something wildlife photographers pursue. We can however capture more of the unique personalities of individuals, and their characteristics, when we share their story one animal at a time.  The same is true with people.

As a photographer, I loved it when a wild animal who was alone, posed with a backdrop which accentuated the mood of loneliness.

Then of course there is the strangest group animal of all. The human animal. He/she assimilates in groups, but requires some time apart from them. When one appears to be too independent, we say there’s that strange guy from down the street. We used to hear on the news after a tragedy, oh you must mean that quiet guy that lives next door. How could he do that? Now days however, most of those who do horrific things are social and belong to groups. Oft times, they do those horrible things as a group action. Be there three of them or an entire riot’s worth.

With all that said, below we have the human animal. We see him practicing a “learned” behavior. This guy looks a bit scary but all in all, he never did anything of note. He seems to fall somewhere below a duck or a toad in the scheme of things. Someday he dreams about being half as smart as a fox.

May God Bless,

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