The Watering Hole

When I was young, I used to watch wildlife shows on TV.  I remember watching  “Wild Kingdom” (with Marlon Perkins).  For a little kid from Northeast Philadelphia, watching wildlife on TV was as close to the real thing as I could get.

Marlon Perkins would narrate each episode, and his younger sidekick (Jim) would interact with the wild animals.  I thought that was funny.  Marlon was probably sipping iced tea under a shady tree while Jim was wrestling with a lion.

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The old wildlife shows often took place at watering holes.  Watering holes are oases, or places where there is water and food.  They are miraculous places, really.  In the middle of some of the most desolate locations on earth, there are these small areas of water and food, and ultimately, of life.

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All of the animals come to the watering hole.  Big and small, predators and prey, it doesn’t matter. Every animal needs water to survive.    Most of the wildlife shows would show interactions between different kinds of animals.    For example, some small birds might be eating parasites off the back of a rhinoceros.   They called that “symbiosis”- a “win-win” relationship.  The rhinoceros wins, because it gets rid of the parasites on its back.  The birds win, because they get to eat.

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I have oases like this in my life-places where I go, and hang out with the other wild animals.  Places like coffee shops, and diners, and houses of worship.  My friends and family and I come to these places for more than water.  We come to these places for ideas, and for knowledge.

One of my favorite oases is the dinner table.  At my dinner table, we have great conversations.  We exchange ideas and share thoughts.  As a result, we grow, and our minds change.  I try to surround myself with people who know more than I do, and who are willing to teach me.

I’m not done learning yet.  That’s why I go to the watering hole.

Hal