Myself and Jackie Nippers are lying at mum's feet, listening to her recite a passage from The Outermost House by naturalist writer Henry Beston.
“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by a complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge, seeing thereby a feather magnified, the whole image in distortion.
We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man.
In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.
They are not brethren. They are not underlings. They are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
Paw-notes: The Outermost House by Henry Beston is a book chronicling a season the author spent living on the dunes of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It was published in 1928 by Doubleday and Doran and is now published by Henry Holt and Company.