Thursday, July 8, 2010

Do Animals Play...?

Evocation of Butterflies
Odilon Redon
1911

Yesterday evening I watched a butterfly outside my treehouse, dancing on the wind for at least an hour.  It swooped and fluttered back and forth through the trees, and not once during the whole time did it settle on anything, but rather just sailed through the air with butterfly joy.  Earlier in the afternoon I watched a seagull at Kitsilano Beach, as it swam and bobbed in the water -- all alone.  He was obviously having fun, and I thought I heard him chuckling as he rode the surf.

I do believe animals enjoy a beautiful idyllic day as much as we do.  In the summer, the seagulls can clearly be heard telling jokes to each other, and laughing heartily as they soar through the air, chasing each other.  Their joie de vivre is unmistakable and very real.

The little butterfly last night was having a wonderful time, and as I watched him I was reminded of the poem by Wordsworth that we learned in grade eight.

I've watched you now a full half-hour,
Self-poised upon that yellow flower;
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless! - not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!

To a Butterfly ... William Wordsworth

17 comments:

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I have no doubt that animals play, and in most cases, they are far better at it than we are because they are unhampered by guilt, ego or a need to seem dignified.

I love seagulls, and butterflies are one of God's gifts to us because they lift our spirits and ask nothing in return.

Jo said...

Susan, that's so true, isn't it? Animals can feel pure joy, and they give us joy too.

Alicia said...

Oh Jo! I love your tree house. I always wondered what you meant by that and now I know. The poem went beautifully with your video; how clever of you to think of it.

lakeviewer said...

Ah lovely to watch birds and butterflies do their thing on a lazy afternoon. Enjoy!

DJan said...

What a wonderful poem, and what a wonderful day. We have just now reached our summer season (although it could back off just a bit for my tastes). And I am happy to hear the joy of life coming back into your posts, after a period of contemplation. You are a very special person, thank you for being you, posting, and being in my life. :-)

Cloudia said...

oh yes!




Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

Owen said...

Funny, I just did a little post about animals playing... it seems quite clear to me, our cat wants to play all the time... and just watch dolphins leaping in and out of the water, for the fun of it...

nomore said...

Probably they can playing, thinking, and singing ...I believe......

nomore said...

Probably they can playing, thinking, and singing ...I believe......

jblack designs said...

I agree. We hear things like that humans are the only animals that x (e.g., pretend), but what we don't know could fill a universe, I think.

Lovely post.

Jennifer

Katy said...

My friend has told me the most wonderful stroy about the time she saw a humming bird dance. At first she was sure that it was some kind of matting ritual, but there wasn't another bird in sight.

Can you imagine the freedom of dancing for pure joy... with out thinking about what you look like... or what the person in front of you thinks you look like?

@ly said...

Squirrels are really good at playing!

A.M. said...

I love butterflies. Just yesterday a large(the biggest I've seen) butterfly was delicately flying in and out of my daughter's playground. I love that type thing. :o)

TC said...

My dog plays and has a very vivid imagination, he bounces @ himself in the mirror, when I come home with groceries he plays like I'm an intruder and I chase him....then he plays with himself in the mirror, he sort of has this charlie chaplin walk that means he wants to play......
yes animals play.. LOL

TC said...

I love to hear you talk too, so nice to hear you after reading your words, you have a lovely voice. I love the treehouse too!!

arlee bird said...

I have no doubt that dogs play from watching them. Never thought about butterflies. It's an interesting concept.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Land of shimp said...

Such pretty thoughts, and a soothing video too! I'm sure you're right, Jo. I know for certain our pets play, and I've watched them make up games.

It makes sense that a butterfly could frolic with the breeze. I wonder if they dream.