animal lessons

I remember a teacher telling me that, when an animal walks on stage in a play, the audience will turn its attention to that animal. He said it’s because an animal on stage is real and present. There is no pretending, no putting on. The audience is deeply interested in that realness, that presence.

In Grand Central Terminal in NYC, hundreds of people bustle about with their thoughts on a train time, a meeting, a heavy backpack, a television show they watched the day before, the job interview later that afternoon, etc. I am one of those people. I bustle about, not always present to my surroundings.

One evening I saw this pigeon walking through GCT and, just as my teacher suggested, I became a rapt audience. He was a small, real, and present being walking among very preoccupied larger beings. Taking in the sight of him felt like waking up from a fog of thought into the real and present now.