Monday, September 29, 2008

For Tommy : The March of the Emperor Penguins

A few days ago I was viewing this documentary “The March of the Emperor Penguins” captured by the cameras of Geographic magazine.
Every year the penguins make a journey of 70 miles from the ocean to the interior of the Antarctic continent for breeding. They walk step by step in file – the leader, the oldest of the group, at the head of the queue. As they approach the rendezvous point, other groups of penguins come together. At times, the leader seems hesitant about the Direction to take; however, another from the group promptly takes over and the shuffle towards their destination continues. When someone gets weary and tired, he/she drops onto its stomach and glides along until it is able to walk again.
Finally, when the destination is reached, the
males and females choose each other. The period of breeding is not very long; the harsh Antarctic cold and blizzards will soon be approaching. After the egg is produced, the female very gently places her egg above the feet of her partner. If unfortunately the egg rolls off the feet of the male, the freezing cold of the Antarctic gets the upper hand and the young one is lost. After the delicate transfer of the egg from female to male is finished, all the females walk all the 70 miles back to the ocean to gather food for their young ones who are kept warm by the males above their two little feet. The males shuffle around among the throng of penguins; the warmest area of the group is towards the centre; so, ever so often the concentric circles move in and out in an organised manner; at the same time the male must make sure that the egg does not touch the cold Antarctic floor. This living process continues for 3 months. In the meantime, the female penguins speed towards the waters of the open ocean to harvest food for their young ones; some of the mothers perish or become preys to predators; the young chicks of these unfortunate mothers will perish.
After a successful foraging of food, the mother penguins make the long trek back to the Antarctic nursery where the little ones have already hatched and are very hungry. On reaching the nursery the mothers seek out their partners and their babies (some mothers find their partners but not their babies); the hungry babies eagerly relish the food their mothers have brought for them.
The male penguin has conscientiously cared for his offspring and now leaves the mother to cater for the needs of the baby chick. He must now march the long 70 miles to nourish himself remembering that he has not eaten for a long time.
The penguin chicks in the meantime get nourished by their mothers and grow rapidly; of course, they are not out of danger; predators like the albatross appear and take away some of the young ones. Finally, after the young ones are fully matured, the female penguins depart leaving the adults to themselves. The harsh Antarctic winter is at an end. The ocean is once more accessible; it is not too far for the females and the young adults to being their lives in the blue waters of the ocean and to nourish themselves.
Indeed, God looks after the penguins, the living creatures, the birds and plants and flowers – THE WONDERFUL CIRCLE OF LIFE. WE, humans, can earn from the Emperor penguins, many valuable and salutary lessons. We, Catholics, too must resort to this natural process – CONCENTRIC CIRCLES TEMPLATE; God, Jesus = the CENTRE; the pope, bishops, priests and the laity = the concentric circles; SHARING, LOVING, SUPPORTING, NOURISHING, SERVING EACH OF OTHER; THE GOAL being the SURVIVAL and PERPETUATION of the
Jesus has given us the way to follow. Paul and John in their writing have clearly mapped out the path we must follow to be children of the Kingdom of God.

1 comment:

joe said...

Cheta that was just beautiful.
I feel the penguins tell us there is much more to life than the world is running for today... more than food, comfort and, children and the sacrifices...Jesus when he lived on earth He told them to be like human children. I wonder if He were to come now, He would say 'atleast be like the penguins". I know the finger points at me too!