365 Grateful: a cookie is a berry is a truffle is a blade of grass

365 - 11-14-2015So, a friend on Facebook recently posted an observation that caught my eye:

When my husband brings me milk with breakfast I drink it because it is so kind of him and because research says it is good for us, but have you ever considered that humans are the only animal in the kingdom that continues to drink milk into adulthood?

A friend of hers replied:

Yes but as I read somewhere, we are the only ones that have cookies!

I laugh. It makes me wonder if humans invented the cookie just as a way to justify drinking milk. I love that thought because, well, cookies.

But who’s to say that other creatures don’t have cookies, too? It seems to me that something another species considers a delicacy or a treat is just another way of translating cookie. To a cedar waxwing bird, the ripe, luscious berries from my Mulberry tree surely translate as “cookies” in its brain. A pig, unearthing a truffle in the forest, surely feels as though it’s finally broken into the cookie jar for a delectable treat. For my dog, I suspect cookies are none other than fragrant, fresh, delicate green grass, among other interesting things.

We humans don’t actually get that, with the possible exception of the truffles, but then we’re probably not supposed to. For many of us, our cookies have chocolate chips or icing and taste sweet and yummy. They go well dipped into a tall glass of cold milk.  (Of course, there are those among us who eschew the sugary cookies for fresh fruit or other healthful alternatives. I think they probably qualify as cookies, too.)

For all the species that share our planet, cookies may carry the same meaning but differ vastly according to each perspective. A snake’s cookie (which may look like an egg to us) is no less a cookie than a freshly baked sugar cookie (with icing) is to us.

So I’m grateful for this fun exchange in the early morning. It broadens my awareness to how we humans bring the world into compliance with our awfully narrow perspectives – how we think and operate and exist. The truth is, we’re just one of many species that live here, and we each have our own viewpoints and definitions of such things as cookies. Sadly, as humans, we even subdivide our own species – by race, by religion, by nationality – and a cookie to one is not necessarily a cookie to another.

Thanks for this early morning Facebook reminder to co-exist with other species – animal, mineral, vegetable (and cookie) – on this green and white ball that’s hurtling through space. And in light of the recent events in Paris, Syria, and countless other places across the globe, may we learn to extend that co-existence to our fellow humans, too.

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