Monday, June 15, 2009

Stone marten spotted in Haifa

Last Thursday evening, I saw a small mammal run across the road in Haifa. It nearly got run over, but made it to the other side. I was wondering what it was. It was smaller than a cat, with brown fur and small round ears, but not a rat, because its tail was furry. It moved fast, like a squirrel (but to the best of my knowledge, there are no squirrels in Israel).

The following day, an article in the local newspaper reported that an animal that had been run over two years ago had been identified as a stone marten (or beech marten). The picture looked like the animal I had seen. The article also quoted a zoologist as saying that the stone marten had been considered extinct in the Carmel region, but that recently some have been seen alive. So I now think this is what I saw.

This got me thinking about the nature of coincidences. The chances of finding out what I saw just a few hours later are so minuscule that it seems like the universe was providing an answer to my question. But thinking about it from another angle, it's just a coincidence. Thousands of people must have read that article without having seen such an animal, and for them the article was nothing special. In the same way, if you see someone you've been thinking about and haven't seen for a long time, you notice it because of the small chances of it happening. But you actually think about many people every day and hardly ever see them. So it's worth getting such coincidences into perspective!

1 comment:

N K said...

It's similar to learning a new word and suddenly seeing it all over the place