One of the things I relish most are my memories of seeing animals being fallible - like squirrels falling out of trees or beavers tripping. Maybe it's a bit odd (or worse, sadistic), but my enjoyment is in watching the animals suffer, but the reminder that they are animals just like us, prone to error, confusion, mistakes, emotions, and the drive to struggle on.
My powers of empathy extend first to mammals, next on to other vertebrates, and then invertebrates. I can connect with insects, but my connection is not as immediate and often includes a slight sense of awkward self-awareness around empathizing with this clade. My chain of empathy often forgets the plant kingdom (John Berger wrote that we like to look at animals because, unlike them, when we look at them we are aware that they are looking at us in the same way. But the other day while taking photos with one of the kids at Crow's Path, we spotted a most peculiar plant that reminded me that the struggles of life extend to all living creatures.
Unlike most trilliums (trillia?) that push their way through the duff by pushing leaves out of the way, this unfortunate soul got stuck trying to rend its way through a sugar maple leaf. It got all twisted and couldn't quite make it to the unfurling stage. I often see this pattern with Canada mayflower. The plant presses on with development, flowering in this instance, despite the jumble of leaves. Trillium are perennial so potentially the hindrance to photosynthesis will not matter much this year - perhaps next year it may suffer slightly, leaf out later, grow a weaker/shorter stem, etc. Only time will tell.