Sometimes an event happens which makes you feel really privileged. I can think of a number of examples of seeing a wild animal just going about its business which come into that category. Maybe that’s because I grew up in an urban environment, although part of me also wants to think that even if I’d lived in the country as a child something like this could still be special.
Being on my own in that moment can increase the sense of privilege – no-one else in the world is here to see what I am seeing. But if I’m with another person something else replaces it – a joy of having someone else to share this with.
We had been told about the otter the previous day and made our way immediately to the lake, thinking we were bound to see it. When it didn’t show, disappointment was tempered to varying degrees with the knowledge that otters (and others) don’t appear to order.
When I returned unaccompanied first thing the following morning, it looked initially as if it was going to be another “no show” before bubbles and a tell-tale disturbance of the water heralded a head and then a body. I was then able to watch the otter hunting for quite a few minutes. The only drawback was that my companions of the day before weren’t present to witness this.
Having brought them back, we had another pause before the otter was spotted. The joy of others being there seemed to echo the joy of the animal – maybe it was projection on my part but I couldn’t help believing that as the otter splashed in and out of the reeds, repeatedly diving and surfacing, it really was enjoying itself. Even if I’m wrong about that, it doesn’t take away how much I enjoyed myself, basking in this shared experience.