For months – well actually ever since I put the bird feeders up – I have considered squirrels my arch enemies. Triumphant arch enemies.
Sometimes when I open my back door, as many as seven of the furry rodents scamper away, up my tree, over the roofs of my neighbors’ garages on the east and west sides of my yard.
I leave. They return.
One day, I noticed a squirrel with a tail considerably shorter than most squirrel tails. I decided to call him ‘Stubby.’ Another day, I noticed a squirrel with a tail that looked as though it had been attacked by a lawn mower. I called him ‘Scruffy.’ [I don’t actually know the squirrels’ genders, I’m just guessing.]
Creatures with names are no longer arch enemies. They are individuals to which you pay attention, which you tolerate, which you sometimes find amusing. Acknowledging individuality means acknowledging worth [or something roughly the equivalent].
I wonder if the same thing might apply to humans.