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  • I've spent quite a lot of time thinking about how other creatures think. At first I assumed no animal could possibly think the way humans do, but during my 75 years old, I've had a lot of time to reconsider the question. Beginning with a family dog, an Irish Setter named Butch-a-Boy, I was taught by some chickens, a few rabbits, and a bay colt named Jerry that they could out-think me at times. (And before you start laughing, I'm no slouch in the thinking department.) Later pets--dogs, especially--put my overweening sense of superiority in its proper place over and over again. In more recent times, an aged cat named Princess and a cage full of cockatiels figure out how to outsmart me quite regularly. All this is just added to what I've read about chimpanzees who communicate with the computer and Koko, the gorilla who spoke in sign language about her grief at losing her kitten and about wanting a baby. So, I gave up long ago any consideration that animals could not think pretty much as I do.

    Today, though, I saw something so phenomenal that I can't get it out of my mind--can't stop thinking about it. I was watering the flowerbeds and the odd planting here and there in the backyard. I love setting the hose-end sprayer on shower and holding it so it points straight up so the water falls back down like rain. I like watching it strike the leaves and seeing the ground turn dark when the drops merge and make everything wet.

    Anyway, the sun was shining, and at certain angles a brilliant rainbow would almost lure me to look for the pot of gold. It was magical--but that wasn't the phenomenal part. While the drops of water were covering the flowerbed in what seemed to be a serious rainstorm, I saw a fly land on a leaf and just sit there. It didn't move, even though water was coming down all around. I watched closely, expecting any moment that a drop would splash down on him. But it didn't happen! Then I saw that the fly was just under the edge of a leaf that bent down a little over him. Drop after slow drop fell as I stood entranced, getting soaked to the skin. The water falling on the upper leaf, rolled down to its tip and fell, just beyond where the fly sat in complete safety. The fly didn't move--until finally, I moved the shower of water away. Water continued to drip from that upper leaf for a few seconds. Then, as though realizing the rain had stopped, the fly moved his wings a bit, changed his heading just a tad, and flew away.

    What do you think?
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