YOU’VE GOT TO LEARN

by Ivy Scarborough | May 18th, 2012

On the riverbank …

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In the Arctic …

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In Africa …

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In India …

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In the Ocean …

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And finally …

Somewhere near Walmart

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Walt,

Thank you for sending those photos, especially the one of the mother otter and young.

As a boy I spent all of my time (minus the time my parents required that I be in school) in the woods with my rifle and my dog.

That weapon became an extension of who I was, and my instincts (they would call it in today’s urbanized language “situational awareness”) were as finely honed as a timber wolf’s.

I learned how to become as much a part of the natural environment as any natural denizen.

The first photo in this series below brought back some powerful memories – specifically of a short story I read at that time (about the age of 12-14) called “You’ve Got to Learn” by Robert Murphy – all tangled together with painful events from that period in my life.

The story is of the tragic loss of a boy’s dog to a mother otter who is defending her young from the dog.

The deeply wounded boy spends week after week, month after month, tracking the otter’s movements and learning her behavior so as to lay in wait for the moment of revenge.

Though the boy did not realize it, this in itself – the determined, patient implacability he was building – was a growing maturity.

When the moment finally came and he had her in his sights certain now that he could destroy her, he suddenly realized he could not kill her.

He now understood – after all of that time living in her world – that her fatal attack on his dog was not vindictive but solely intended to protect her own.

That short story had a powerful effect on me.

For some inexplicable reason, I was motivated and geared from apparently infancy to hate injustice and to not only be willing, but to long, to confront and fight the perpetrators. No one had to persuade me to be willing to stand.  Complacency of any kind was not part of the makeup.

But I did have to learn that life was not as simple as it often first appears, John Wayne and Hollywood notwithstanding.  I had to take that into account.

I learned to see others, even potential enemies, such as the mujahedeen in Afghanistan, through the prism of the world into which they were born – and over which they had no control.

God help them!  With Islam as the belief system you have been taught – and the only one you know – you are accursed already and do not understand that you are.

Shakespeare had one of the murderers in Macbeth say, “I am one my liege whom the vile buffets of the world hath so incensed, that I am reckless what I do to spite the world.”

What insight!

When you consider that the overwhelming majority of prison inmates are the victims of child abuse you begin to see the world as more complex than you had been led to believe.

The sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons for many generations!! And it is only through Christ that anyone on the face of the earth has any hope.

Thank you for sending these images.  This brought back painful memories, but it was worth it.

Ivy

About Ivy Scarborough

Ivy Scarborough is a writer, commentator, former adjunct professor, television, radio and print commentator, radio program host, professional mediator, and lawyer.

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