Ostriches and Zebras

Nature is full of symbiotic relationships. For instance, looking at a zebra and an ostrich, we wouldn’t necessarily think that they were good buddies. They don’t look alike and I wouldn’t automatically assume that they would have much in common or even want to hang out, or get together for drinks after a hard day on the savanna.
I was surprised and delighted to learn that zebras and ostriches DO often travel together and they look out for each other. This relationship keeps them safe from predators, because they make a great team. Zebras have a keen sense of smell and hearing, but they have poor eyesight. On the other hand, ostriches have great vision, but their hearing and smelling capabilities are not so great. Each animal benefits from the strengths of the other and they warn each other of impending danger.

When I read about this phenomenon, I once again marveled at the amazing intricacies and relationships in nature. There are many examples of how members of both the animal and plant kingdoms work together and depend upon each other for survival. That started me thinking about humans and how we relate to one another.

The news reports are full of accounts of conflict between various people, countries, political parties, etc. and that isn’t new; it has been going on since the beginning of humanity. Even more troubling to me are the stories I hear every day from people who are embroiled in arguments, bitterness, jealousy, resentment, and other negative situations in their personal and/or professional lives. Some people seem to be so concerned with competition and being “right” about everything, that they have lost that precious element which makes any relationship work….symbiosis or mutual benefit.

It isn’t about helping someone so that they will, in turn, help you. It is about respecting the value and opinions of people in our lives and appreciating that when it boils down, we all really want the same thing out of life…we want peace of mind and it just might be possible to help each other in that quest. Sadly, some people are under the impression that in order for them to feel peace and joy, someone else has to give up those feelings.

Sometimes, I guess it doesn’t seem possible for problems between people to be solved. Egos become involved and things get blown out of proportion. Perhaps we would all benefit from emulating the zebras and the ostriches and all of the other creatures in nature who seem to have worked things out in more simplistic terms than the human race. Granted, we usually don’t eat each other….but are we willing to hang out with those who look and act differently than we do? Are we quick to lend them our strength in an area in which they are not as strong? And are we willing to work together for a common goal?

Think about that the next time you are at the watering hole.


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