I do not usually fret missing an episode of a television show, or care enough to catch its rerun. But the multinational nature documentary, P.E… I can watch it over and over endlessly! So, when I found out that an episode of it was to be aired again tonight, I was determined to make it home in time to catch it.
One of the reasons why I am so hooked on this TV show is because I feel human beings have a lot to learn from animal behaviours. I am always amazed by how well they evolve to best suit the environment they live in, but aghast by how easily they perish when the balance is even slightly tipped. And I think about how similar or different we are as just another species living on the same planet.
Watching tonight’s episode this time around, I was most fascinated by a certain species of lemur living on an island off the coast of southeast Africa, which evolved to live in the most arid and hostile environment. They have thickened skin on the palms of their hands and soles of their feet to allow them to climb trees covered with prickly spines, and their digestive system efficiently absorbs nutrients and water from tiny young leaves on these trees. Because they are the only species with these features, they see no competition in sight, and thus, live safe and peaceful lives.
Maybe this environment was not their first choice of place to live… no one wants to live in harsh conditions if they could choose, I am sure!
But maybe they got tired of constantly risking their lives fighting over tasty but limited food with the other lemurs.
And maybe they took on the challenge (or took a dare, maybe?) to go to a place where no other lemur has been able to, and succeed at surviving.
Maybe they said “good-bye” to their land of origin with much sorrow and perhaps some regret.
Maybe they said “hello” to the possibly promised land with big hopes and perhaps even bigger worries.
But whatever that made the lemurs go their separate ways, maybe upon parting, they said to each other “see you again,” wishing the best of luck in getting the most out of the choices they have each made, whether it was to stay or to go.
As I was watching these lemurs, it felt like I was also watching the nation principally producing this documentary, who has officially announced today that they will be leaving a group of nations they had belonged to for nearly half a century.
Maybe the new place that they will be seeking going forward will be extremely arid and hostile, with only trees with prickly spines growing scarcely.
Maybe there will be times when they wish they could take back saying “good-bye” to their fellow nations.
Maybe there will be times when saying “hello” to the new place will bring more tears than smiles on their faces.
But whatever that made them go their separate ways, I hope both the leaving and remaining nations will say “see you again” and wish each other successful survival in each of the places they will now live in.
If the lemurs can part amicably, I think so can us human beings. And if a certain species of lemurs can evolve to thrive in even the harshest conditions, I think so can a group of us human beings. After all, we are all living on the same planet, ruled by the same laws of nature.
From one islander to another on the opposite sides of the Eurasian continent, I wish you all the best in your journey to a place where no others have been!