The Cycle of Life
I spent this past weekend in Barbados communing with nature fishing in the Caribbean Sea and meditating on the meaning of life. It’s so refreshing getting away watching the turquoise blue waters and listening to the waves. It never gets old to me.
As I stood on the rocks watching fish jump, afraid for their lives because some predator was chasing them, I thought about how much we could learn from observing animals in the wild. I have a healthy respect for Mother Nature, and I pride myself on reading up on any environment I’m traveling to so not to disrupt the ecosystem and so I won’t kill myself (more so the latter).
I realized that it’s nearly impossible to live on earth without being preyed upon. They prey upon us daily, we just don’t know it. There is always something or someone looking to eat (or harm) us. We don’t think about this enough. We take life (and people) for granted. Someone is always planning to make a meal out of you and I.
There will always be predators, and predators will always be in search of prey. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out fishing our walking and seen something so amazing you can’t tell anyone about it because they’d be too emotional. Like the time I witnessed a large mouth bass scoop up a baby duckling before it could get out of the water, or watching ants destroy a bug while dragging it to their nest to consume.
I’ve even seen hawks and bald eagles in the wild swoop down from trees high in the hair catch big fish who had no clue they were being watched for consumption.
During another time outdoors, I was fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and reeling in the largest sea trout I’d ever caught in my life only to have some large other fish swim by as I bent over to pull it out of the water and steal it. It happened so fast I think I stood there for 5 minutes with my mouth opened, hand on my hip. Something was watching my fish below the surface to snatch it from me.
Witnessing such savagery was so scary. It reminded me everything is fighting to live in the ocean at all times. The food chain is an amazing thing.
It can be scary too.
For a moment, I was afraid I could have had my hand or arm taken off by gigantic predator fish in the ocean. I decided from now on fish caught would be reeled and put in the boat instead of bending over to pull them from the water because I never know what predators underneath the boat are watching me.
I was in awe of the ocean and magnificence of Mother Nature. She created a system so that the strongest could survive, and that only a few animals are at the top of the food chains, ensuring the cycle of life on earth continues.
On the same day of my fish theft incident, I sat in my boat at dusk watching the sharks feed on smaller fish in the harbor area for hours It was fascinating to watch sharks come in at a certain time of day to feed. It was also a Blood Moon making the feeding frenzy extra special. Fish tried their best to get out of the way, only to be knocked into the air and eaten by sharks. Fish were plentiful. Prey was everywhere.
Sharks were like Burger King, having it their own way. Prey must always worry about predators. Watching fish scurry in Barbados brought me to the same conclusion about people and life and people, sadly.
Life is a lot like the great outdoors. There is always something looking for an easy, sometimes unsuspecting meal to stay alive. Predators are waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Sometimes prey will put up a fight going down, but in the end, the predator always wins. Any animal could go from being a predator to becoming the prey. I like to call it the sometimes savage cycle of life, also known as the food chain. Watching nature at work is not for the weak or faint of heart. Only the strong (and protected) can survive to get old.
Human Predators, Human Prey
Watching animals being consumed in the wild reminded me a lot of how life works for us humans. We humans have lots of predators among us. And some of us are always being preyed upon. Men are preyed upon sometimes by women, and sometimes women are preyed upon by men. Businesses prey upon consumers. Employers prey upon employees. The governments prey upon taxpayers. Banks prey upon bankers. Social media sites and app makers prey upon users of technology. Automakers prey upon car buyers. Food and drug makers prey upon naïve or overly educated consumers. Politicians are forever preying upon voters.
I feel like I’m in the matrix movie trying to survive living. I’m always trying to figure out how I will not become the prey to someone or something. Not because I want to be the predator, but because I just want to live in peace. Those of us who have been preyed upon understand what I’m saying.
No one feels good learning they’ve been preyed upon and survived it.
There are always pesky human predators, and then there will always be human prey. I’m reminded some lives must be loss so that others can be sustained.
As in the wild, to some extent our food chains are a natural order of things, though I feel some things are unnecessary.
A food chain is the sequence of transfers of matter and energy in the form of food from one organism to another.
I thought about how many of us feel like we are always being preyed upon by someone or something. We’re preyed upon by those who should lead us. We’re preyed upon by corporations who market stuff we don’t need using pretty commercials and branding companies. We’re peddled lies, told we need to consume more things which directly harms our environment. We’re preyed upon so predators can swindle our hard-earned dollars out of our pockets.
We are constantly looking over our shoulders to avoid being someone’s snack. Sometimes we are moving about life, not paying attention, accidentally falling into a predator’s trap. As some of us get older, we become savvier about staying alive. Some humans learn the lesson we’re all prey, all the time. Staying alive for as long as we can depend upon our wisdom and knowledge of our predators, and family (biological or otherwise) support. Have you ever seen baby ducklings crossing the street? Swimming as a family in a pond?
A mama duck knows her babies are prey every moment they’re alive until they get old enough to take care of themselves. She stops predator cars so her babies can cross the street. She scours the water’s edge to make sure no predators are in the vicinity before going first, her babies following closely behind. Sometimes daddy helps in the child care duties, bringing up the rear, ensuring all the babies are accounted for. The mama and daddy ducks were fully aware any kind of predator could snatch one of their little bundles of joy.
Taking a page from the ducks’ playbook, we should always know the predators among us.
Learning how to survive in your food chain is essential, regardless of where you are in this food chain called life. Only the strong (and wise) survive, and someone is always hungry looking to consume.
There will always be predators, and there will always be prey.
Which Are You?
Some of us unwittingly put ourselves in harm’s way, making ourselves the easy prey. Human predators, like predators in the wild, are always looking for their next victim. Predators among us can smell easy prey. Some predators are cunning enough to seek the weakest links in a group, luring them away to savagely suck the life from them.
Human predators are always looking for the easiest prey, snatching the youngest, slowest, weakest, disabled, naïve and sometimes even the dumbest ones of us to consume, rob, kill, and destroy.
And the prey, those of us who are too afraid to try something new, too in love of excess, always in search of a leader, too naïve to fear, too blind to see truth, too lazy to read the fine print, too afraid to change, too angry to talk, know it all yet know nothing, too comfortable, too apathetic, too trusting to question and research for yourself, too quick to believe, too slow to speak up, too hateful to love, too stingy to share, too greedy, too needy, too nasty, too bigoted, too ignorant, too… too… too. We end up being consumed.
Predators are always watching. Predators know their prey, and when they don’t, they’ll wait — they’ll watch. They’ll learn, and at the right moment, they’ll swoop in for the kill. The “kill” may not be literal, but it’s a kill no less.
Predators kill your bank accounts looking for ways to keep us poor so they can get richer.
Predators kill our neighborhoods. They steal our children.
Predators snatch our minds. They consume our souls.
Predators are everywhere.
We should think about everything in life from a predator/prey perspective. From capitalism, to religion, to the food chain, to politics, to the environment, education, food, drugs, business, the establishment, the wealthy, the poor, the middle-class, globalism, nationalism, the haves, the have-nots, and even our state, local, and federal government. We are constantly being preyed upon by predators. It’s important for us to understand we all are in some sort of food chain.
Learning who the predators and prey are in any system is invaluable. Don’t you want to know if someone sees you as a meal for consumption? The cycle of life will not stop because you don’t know. The food chain will continue to move right along. You’ll either be consumed or you will be the consumer. Some days you’ll get to live another day. The choice is yours. Do you know what you are in any food chain? Where is your place in the cycle of life?
Are you the predator, or are you the prey?
© Marley K., 2019. All rights reserved.