This will be an essay of images. One of the many blessings in my life was to have two little puppies left at our home to care for while their “owners” (our two daughters) got on with their lives. There is a good time to have a pet in the home and there is a bad time, so being that at our age we are considered somewhat stable and responsible it was with confidence that these two little beasts were left in our care. Goldfish perhaps can be left alone and fed occasionally, you don’t have to talk to them or show them any particular affection. Dogs are something else. They require attention and they respond to attention. They are genuinely affectionate and grateful, at times a little pushy when it is close to meal time or when in the evening they think it is appropriate to receive a treat or two. They cannot be left for great lengths of time, as they too have their needs and part of that is a little walk around the house. It is something called “bonding” – they attach themselves and expect to be more than possessions. We are perhaps not really aware of their full emotional capabilities but we know that a dog is capable of great loyalty.
A movie was made about the loyalty of a dog named Hachikō. The basis of the story was true – the dog a golden brown Akita belonged to a loving master who was a professor at a university in Japan. The dog would come each day to greet its master at the train station, but the professor suffered a severe stroke and died. For nine years the dog Hachikō came to the train station and waited for his master. Over time Hachikō became a symbol of great loyalty and a monument was erected in his honor.
There is an almost universal appeal to photos of the Madonna and Child. For Christians of course the persons are Mary and her son Jesus. But in other cultures and civilizations the madonna and child can represent any number of mothers with their infant child. This is a universal pull – with feelings of pleasure and comfort as one thinks of the relationship between mother and child.
We are awakening to a different reality – mothers are not only human mothers. We have become desensitized to the other life forms who co-exist with us on this planet. But we witness and photograph the close relationship between mother and offspring – in many species large and small. Perhaps we have chosen not to pay attention to the natural bonds of affection – beyond the biological need to care for the offspring which is imprinted into our mutual genetic programming. In this our genetic directors probably have great similarities.
In photographs which I have found posted largely through Facebook I have felt an attraction for these “madonna and child” images of other species, not just but especially among primates with whom we are such close cousins. And in viewing these images do we not witness something of the “God” or creator spirit from which all come, and which are all manifestations of the love of this power?