In the garden, a winged shadow passes over me and ripples low over the ground, the trees, and beyond. Vultures are not unusual or even unwelcome, often appearing overhead daily or several times a day. Such an enormous shadow would have given rise to fear and horror in past ages, and may still today. But the vulture is exempted by its pleasing flight, floating expertly on the slightest current with a minimum of effort. Nor should the vulture’s habits be a source of human disgust. Feeding vultures often remind me of a human banquet table, animal parts splayed about, torn and consumed greedily. Every creature has its place. None needs justification. It is, rather, for we humans — with our power, fears, and horrors — to understand all creatures, even while wondering what our own place is in the scheme of sentient beings.