Imagine….Always. It is amazing how no matter what the environment you’re in or task you happen to be doing, you can become complacent and routine in your observations. I had this drilled home today when I was doing some yard work here in Costa Rica. My imagination had taken a break and I was simply going through the motions. Part of the work that needs to get done is pulling down dead branches from the palm trees (a bit of hazard management). Without really looking at the tree I was working on I plunged the end of the 24ft(7.3 metres) bamboo pole toward the dead branch that was my goal. Suddenly a large mass started moving just above where I had placed the pole. To my surprise I watched a sloth unfold from around a branch and start to make its’ way rapidly (for a sloth) up the tree. I called for Karen and together we watched this incredible animal move steadily up the tree. It was a good 3ft(1 metre) long, from head to bottom.
As I ran to get my camera Karen noticed a small arm wrapped around the side of the apparent mother sloth. Now I have to admit a bit of guilt at this time. Here I had scared this sloth, with baby hanging on, into feeling it had to escape a threat. As we watched it hanging from branches that we were sure could not take the weight I envisioned this family crashing to the ground. Luckily no such event took place.
It was inspiring to watch the beautifully smooth movement of an animal as it crossed an area you would never believe could be accessed by anything larger than a bird or a squirrel. This sloth just kept moving until it simply could not go any further. At which point it curled onto a branch and became absolutely motionless.
Other than the wonderful experience of getting to watch such a neat animal this was also a great reminder to keep your imagination engaged, no matter where you are in the world. There are so many beautiful things all around us and I feel we all too frequently start to take things for granted. Don’t let that happen. Keep your imagination engaged….Always.