Animals in ‘the wild’ become desperately thirsty after a long day of getting by. They approach a water place with extreme caution. Everyone knows that enemies understand your needs and hide, wait for you by the water.
(even domesticated humans like to gather for a drink at sundown.)
Perhaps your friend has avoided every trap, begins to drink and is brought down by a crocodile who was hiding in the water.
These things happen every day, don’t they?
It is not our story, though; when we lived in Mexico we watched two squirrels we were acquainted with tease a young hawk who was learning to fly. Since they were babies we knew these squirrels as joyously playful animals, always playing chase with each other and looking for trouble. So we knew too well the habits of the hawks. Yet the squirrels were fearless and not exactly aggressive, just foolish, we thought.
Over many years we have watched many animals playing in the face of life. Even sparrows and calves. They all know to stay alive. Whether or not they understand death, (do we?) they understand that it is to be avoided no matter what….
Animals other than humans certainly mourn friends who are gone but in the next instant will play as though life were good..
The knowledge may be without conscious thought, without a plan… full of life. Undefeated. Ready for the next play.
Walt Whitman wrote, ‘I think I could turn and live with the animals. They are so placid and self-contained…’ they are not, really, though… it is more that they are actively alive with each other at every moment.