It’s not easy being an animal in much of the world, or a person.
This young crocodile had been recently captured when I took its picture in a village in Papua New Guinea’s East Sepik Province. There was something unsettling in how its eyes could see, yet its mouth was muzzled and its legs bound. Clear-eyed, but powerless.
One of my favorite books is Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, a 19th-century Russian masterpiece. Russia, by the way, specifically at a zoo in Yekaterinburg, is where a crocodile named Kolya lived to an estimated age of 110–115 years.
But back to The Brothers Karmazov. I have an old Word document on which I’ve typed scores of quotes from the book. Sometimes a picture I take brings to mind one of those quotes. Like this, for instance:
My brother, a dying youth, asked the birds to forgive him. That may sound absurd, but when you think of it, it makes sense. For everything is like the ocean, all things flow and are indirectly linked together, and if you push here, something will move at the other end of the world. It may be madness to beg the birds for forgiveness, but things would be easier for the birds, for the child, and for every animal if you were nobler than you are—yes, they would be easier, even if only by a little. Understand that everything is like the ocean. Then, consumed by eternal love, you will pray to the birds, too. In a state of fervor you will pray them to forgive you your sins. And you must treasure that fervor, absurd though it may seem to others.