Furry, Fugly or Lovely ~ They're All Pretty Amazing
When I first moved to New England from NYC, it was like culture shock. The biggest contrasts for me were the lack of traffic and noise, the smell of flowers in the air rather than vehicle exhaust and refinery fumes (thank you Linden NJ), and the wildlife ~ aside from the fact that I’d spent countless hours at the Central Park and Bronx Zoo, as well as Coney Island’s Aquarium, I’d never seen so many animals before!
Suddenly, I could catch a glimpse of cows in pastures, geese and hawks overhead in flight, deer lapping water from drainage on the roadsides and even owls in trees in late evening. The only animals in the wild I got to see as a young girl were stray cats and dogs, an occasional field rabbit, and some birds (mostly robins and sparrows) at the backyard feeder.
This post was inspired by the most wonderful, animal-packed day I had yesterday.
On my way into work, I always pass a cow and a horse farm. As lame as this may sound, this thrills me to bits. Yesterday, as I looked over at one of the pastures, I cracked up laughing to see a bull climbing on top of one of the smaller cows! “Morning delight” I thought to myself, “pure bliss.” You don’t get to see much cow-mating in the city. I started to feel badly for that big bronze Merrill Lynch bull down at the bottom of Broadway ~ he must get lonely. These bovine honeymooners seemed so awkward in their struggle to get it on. It just made me chuckle.
Later on, I had the great pleasure of a much needed half day off from work. Before leaving the campus, my fiancé and I wandered about, enjoying some of our newest exhibits. Working in the environment, I don’t get to really take the time I’d like to thoroughly enjoy every feature. Days like yesterday make me appreciate the place all the more.
We got to check out the new Hidden Amazon exhibit, complete with bat cave and exotic spiders. One of the spiders on exhibit is the bird spider. This dude can eat whole birds, mice, and other critters. He’s huge. His body alone is as large as a man’s fist; with his hairy legs stretched out, he’s about 10 inches across (picture a dinner plate).
Moving right along … QUICKLY …
Ed and I were then fortunate enough to have a contact program with the aquarium’s star beluga whale. His name is Enuk. He’s 1900+ pounds of delicate beauty. Later today, I may have more photos to add, but for now, the one below will have to suffice.
Enuk, 24 years old, rolled over gently in the water, allowing us to examine his pectoral fins and fluke, and as he did so, it reminded me just how tiny and weak mankind really is next to such creatures. I think some people tend to forget this, or just never realize it in the first place. With one slight hand-signal from his handler, he suddenly broke into song. They don’t call belugas “Canaries of the Sea” without reason. He’s just a marvelous creature, handsome yet humble.
On our way home from the aquarium, while driving up yet another country road, two deer were crossing in front of us. The smaller one seemed preoccupied with something on the ground, while the larger one shot us that “crap, another car” look. We slowed to a stop but they were off and out of sight in no time.
It sometimes takes my breath away when I see how swiftly and yet how gracefully the deer move through the dense woods. I have walked slowly through such woods and have tripped and fallen over the tiniest of branches and upended roots. They barrel through at 10 miles per hour never faltering in the least. It’s unreal.
As I laid in bed last night I could hear the Canada geese out on the pond (I always thought they were called Canadian geese, but learned differently when I moved here – “Canada” in this case, is actually a species, not just an adjective). It seemed such an appropriate ending to our animal adventures throughout the day.
I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by marine life at work and wildlife at leisure. There’s an innocence about animals that shouldn’t be taken for granted. They survive with no luxuries and co-exist quite nicely. They can also be quite comical in their mating rituals ~ then too, if you think about it, so are people.