If I had to define intelligence, I would define it as the ability to observe the world and to connect the various observed details in a manner which is conducive to successfully navigating one's surroundings. I'm not the sort of guy who likes to toot his own horn, but I have a couple of pieces of parchment which certify me as a clever boy. I chalk any cleverness up to my observational skills. A couple of days ago, I stopped at a supermarket to buy a half-gallon of milk to bring to work (I admit to being a big coffee drinker, and I tend to put a little milk in my java to take the edge off the stuff, though I will certainly drink it black if there's no other option). While walking across the parking lot, I saw a grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) suddenly veer off in its flight, an act which tipped me off to some unusual condition in the vicinity. Sure enough, I looked up to ascertain what the disturbance could be, and saw this beauty:
This red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) had taken up a position atop one of the parking lot lampposts, and was calmly surveying the environs as shoppers hustled in and out of the supermarket. It was a bit of wildness injected into a most suburban setting... and most of the people running errands didn't even notice it on its perch. I made sure to point it out to one of the shopping-cart wranglers, a gregarious teenage boy with a good sense of humor- his mind was pretty blown by the sight of the hawk that had visited his normally uninspiring workplace. I reminded him that everybody needs to look up every once in a while, even in a suburban parking lot. There are things above our mundane concerns, and they can be transcendent and transforming.