Another long week, since I agreed to work overtime during my partner’s vacation. Sometimes the days just blend together – if I didn’t have my pictures I really would not recall what happened! This week we made an offer on a house that we liked, in a lukewarm manner – but it has a septic system so that was a bit of a turn-off for us. In a way, it was almost a relief when they asked for a final price that was still $7k too high for us! Still, it’s a great house and I’m sure they’ll find a good buyer for it. Until then, the home search continues!
To me, it was paradise on earth. I have nothing but the fondest memories of growing up in a zoo. I lived the life of a prince. What maharaja’s son had such vast, luxuriant grounds to play about? What palace had such a menagerie? My alarm clock during my childhood was a pride of lions. They were no Swiss clocks, but the lions could be counted upon to roar their heads off between five-thirty and six every morning. Breakfast was punctuated by the shrieks and cries of howler monkeys, hill mynahs and Moluccan cockatoos. I left for school under the benevolent gaze not only of Mother but also of bright-eyed otters and burly American bison and stretching and yawning orang-utans. I looked up as I ran under some trees, otherwise peafowl might excrete on me. Better to go by the trees that sheltered the large colonies of fruit bats; the only assault there at that early hour was the bats’ discordant concerts of squeaking and chattering. On my way out I might stop by the terraria to look at some shiny frogs glazed bright, bright green, or yellow and deep blue, or brown and pale green. Or it might be the birds that caught my attention: pink flamingoes or black swans or one-wattled cassowaries, or something smaller, silver diamond doves, Cape glossy starlings, peach-faced lovebirds, Nanday conures, orange-fronted parakeets. Not likely that the elephants, the seals, the big cats or the bears would be up and doing, but the baboons, the macaques, the mangabeys, the gibbons, the deer, the tapir, the llamas, the giraffes, the mongooses were early risers. Every morning before I was out the main gate I had one last impression that was both ordinary and unforgettable: a pyramid of turtles; the iridescent snout of a mandrill; the stately silence of a giraffe; the obese, yellow open mouth of a hippo; the beak-and-claw climbing of a macaw parrot up a wire fence; the greeting claps of shoebill’s bill; the senile, lecherous expression of a camel. And all these riches were had qiuckly, as I hurried to school. It was after school that I discovered in a leisurely way what it’s like to have an elephant search your clothes in the friendly hope of finding a hidden nut, or an orang-utan pick through your hair for tick snacks, its wheeze of disappointment at what an empty pantry your head is. I wish I could convey the perfection of a seal slipping into water or a spider monkey swinging from point to point or a lion merely turning its head. But language founders in such seas. Better to picture it in your head if you want to feel it.
– The Life of Pi, Yann Martel
Filled to the brim with descriptive passages like the one above, The Life of Pi is a great book about human resilience and the will to survive, physically and mentally. There’s a lot of magic realism throughout the story and the narrator may not be accurate – but perhaps the story would be preferable to what may actually have happened. A situation seems different when animals are put in the places of human beings…
Song of the Week:
When I was in junior high, anime (dubbed in English) was just starting to get more popular in the US – I remember watching Sailor Moon in the morning while eating breakfast, and the episode would end just when the bus would get here! One of the animes I watched on TV was CardCaptor Sakura – basically a fantasy anime for young girls where the main character was an important heroine that got to dress up in adorable outfits and fight evil along with her cute winged bear sidekick. Seriously, I wanted to be Sakura! And she had an innocent romance as well. This song is from one of the Japanese movies, and the lyrics are so innocent and thoughtful – so different from American pop music!