Sunday, December 16, 2007


The first time I saw a sloth it frightened me: it was so human and alien like and so utterly different that it sent a momentary pang of fear and distrust through me. The day after I found an arm in the orchard: fur and skin gone just muscles and sinews left and those three long talons. It was as long as my arm, but it took away my feelings of otherness.

They move so slowly, they really do. Watching them is a lesson. A lesson in beauty: they themselves are not ‘beautiful’ creatures, their coats are green with algae and their long limbs, tiny heads and awkwardly smiling mouths and long long talons do not make them pin ups in the animal world. But they are beautiful in their movements: each gesture takes time; the reach for a leaf; the slow process along a branch; the turn of the head, the shift of position. The sloth has eternity and each moment lasts a lifetime, each moment is all there is. I learn from the sloth not only to take my time, but that each moment is worthy of my attention, my consciousness. Closing my eyes to shut out distractions, and moving as a sloth feeling my muscles, the weight of my limbs, the energy around my skin, brings a feeling of deep relaxation and awareness.