Sunday, July 06, 2008

Walk in Lincoln Memorial Gardens

Sebastian and I went for a walk in the Lincoln Memorial Gardens yesterday. We saw a couple little fawns with their mother doe, but the deer were too obscured by leaves and trees to make a good photograph. We were pretty close, however, perhaps only twenty meters away.

We also saw a turtle crawling through the clover. There were plenty of insects out in the park. We saw several six-spooted green tiger beetles (Cicindela sexguttata) out hunting along the trail. The Staghorn Sumacs (Rhus typhina) were in bloom with their impressive red clusters of flowers, as were some prairie flowers like the yellow Slender Rosin-weed (Silphium gracile) pictured here.
On the back of one of the benches was carved a quotation from Abraham Lincoln that I thought fairly profound: "I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it." Sebastian and I discussed this, and decided Lincoln was saying that we judge religions by the way the believers behave, and we must look beyond how they behave when it comes to obeying rules and treating people well. We must look to the private actions that show more directly the deeper feelings and sentiments of people, such as how they treat animals, who cannot complain or tell people about their treatment. I've often felt it's unfair to judge religions by the behaviors of believers, since people tend to fall short, but as a general rule with allowances for individual exceptions, this does make sense as a general rule. Lincoln loved animals anyway.

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