Benjamin and the Animals

By Amy Miller

I was busy packing for a road trip and frankly didn’t hear the squawking. Not until Benjamin appeared did I notice the commotion in the trees: “Mommy, there’s two crows attacking a hawk,” said my 10-year-old son.

“Really?” I answered and kept packing.

“You know, I just love to wake up and be in wildlife,” he answered.

My village in southern Maine isn’t exactly Baxter State Park, but where there is wildlife,  Benjamin will find it. Since he was old enough to communicate – in other words always – he has shown a kinship for animals. And like children do, he has helped me see what I would have missed.

“I loved animals when I first saw them,” Benjamin said when invited to write this blog with me. “I wanted to know more about them, about the ways that they do stuff, like hunting and playing.”

Benjamin’s interest goes beyond learning the facts.

“I like to see animals from their point of view instead of from people’s point of view. I like to see an animal’s view of a mouse, or an animal’s view of a giraffe,” he said. “Like a giraffe, for us it’s like, ‘oh it’s a big animal’ but for a tiger or lion it’s like ‘oh, it’s food, we got to go eat it.’”

Even as an adult, I’m too restless to cast a fishing rod more than four or five times without a bite. At 2, Benjamin waited for hours on the end of a dock among the reeds at our favorite lake in Bridgton. He never gets bored on that dock.

“I just like to have patience. I like to test my patience, to see how long I can go,” he said. Plus,“I like to give myself a challenge and try to find the best or the biggest fish. I like to see what fish are in the pond. No matter how long I wait I know that they’re in there.”

I used to think an animal dying would be hard for Benjamin. Not so. “It’s the way of life, if they die they die,” he said.

This week Benjamin went to a neighbor’s to return something. When he came back, he reported on his latest wildlife experience.

“There was a chickadee that I came millimeters from,” he said. “It flew onto a hedge, but I didn’t move one muscle because I knew if I moved it would go away. And I wanted to see it more.”

About the author: Amy Miller is a writer who works in the public affairs office of EPA New England in Boston. She lives in Maine with her husband, two children, seven chickens, two parakeets, dog and a great community.