Patience is a virtue, but it has many different interpretations. In some cases, patience is a tool to delay satisfaction in search of a later reward; in others, it's simply an attitude toward life that allows for better coping with difficulties. And it can also be found as a characteristic of those who believe that there is time for everything and who are not fans of hurrying.
All this can be found in the symbolism of some animals that display these peculiarities. Let's see what they are:
The owl has many symbolisms, but when it comes to patience, the relationship of this bird is particularly based on its usual posture. The owl tends to stand on the branch of the tree, watching with its eyes wide open. This behavior is usually shown by patient people versus those who act rashly.
While acting in a hurry often leads to mistakes, patience is often associated with calm and observation, and that is precisely the attitude observed in owls, who seem to be unaffected by everything and have all the time in the world to make any decision.
The relationship between the elephant and patience has not so much to do with the fact that this animal has demonstrated this quality as with the leisurely pace at which it moves.
Patience is related to the absence of haste, and the movement of the elephant, calm and slow, fits perfectly with this idea. This is why the elephant is associated with patience, since on very rare occasions does it move quickly, and it usually seems to take everything very calmly.
The ox is a symbol of patience for the rigor of its day to day. Traditionally, the ox was used as a beast of burden and for trawling to sow crops. This means that from the beginning of its day it was forced to work very hard. However, the ox is a peaceful animal that never causes problems or seems to complain about its unfortunate existence. This makes it seen as a symbol of patience, in the sense of having a great ability to deal with difficulties without falling into despair.
The ant is associated with patience based on its habit of accumulating food for when the hard times come. The ant spends months working hard without immediate reward. Even if it has stored large amounts of food, the ant will not touch them and will wait patiently until food is scarce before it digs into those resources. This quality is exceedingly rare in the animal world, where instant gratification and the present prevail. The ant symbolizes the triumph of patience because it knows that all its work will bear fruit sooner or later. While other species have lived day to day suffer hardships with the arrival of winter, the ant enjoys the result of its previous work.
The tortoise's symbolism in relation to the virtue of patience is based on two of its characteristics. On the one hand, there is its longevity. We understand that when we have little time, it's normal to be in a hurry for everything, since time is a scarce resource. But if you are going to live a long life, what need is there to hurry? It's just a matter of knowing how to wait, and everything will come.
The other characteristic that defines the tortoise's relationship to patience is its slow pace. When an animal moves at such a low speed, it has no alternative but to be patient, since from the beginning it knows that getting to its destination will take a long time.