I may have a new favorite animal.
My daughters and I had the chance to spend a day in Chicago after our week at the Suzuki Institute, and they wanted to see animals more than anything else.
So animals we saw. Our day was devoted to wonder.
Giraffes, for instance: watch them move. I’m not a physics person, but I can recognize the feat of balance between neck and legs and body that makes up a giraffe. A reminder that things you don’t think can be graceful are in fact very much so.
Sea lions: again, it’s their movement. Watching them swim past, upside down—don’t they make you want to move through your world in the same way? So at ease. And upside down. Because why not?
Seahorses: they kind of make me think unicorns could be real, too.
Lions: I might think I've gotten over their strength and power by now. But then—oh—I actually catch sight of one.
Fennec fox: oversized ears—I'm not over cute, either.
And then that afternoon, on our day-in-Chicago-devoted-to-wonder, we discovered that a Japanese sea cucumber has a tongue like snowflakes. That there’s such a thing as a jeweled anemone. That, in fact, jeweled anenomes can blanket a surface like tiny crazy pink space-flowers. And maybe I imagined things like that existed, but when I find out they actually do…
These are things so delicate and extravagant I don’t know what to do with myself.
I’m thankful for things like that—the ones I think should exist but as I go through life forget about, or convince myself aren't real. And then they turn up in the world and show me how foolish-and-not-foolish I am.
I love that.
They are especially beautiful, I think, because I recognize them, and I’ve been waiting.
And then one day there they are.
When we remind each other of these things, or point them out, or prove that they exist, it’s no trifle. They make me hopeful for other things as well—the ones I sometimes dare to hope for, or maybe don’t dare but wish I had the courage to.
So here. My newest favorite animal:
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