April 29, 2005

Furry, Fugly or Lovely ~ They're All Pretty Amazing

Wait! Before you start thinking this is just another aquarium post, it’s more to the point of how lovely and amazing animal life can be in the country ~ from a city girl’s perspective.

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.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

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.


Blogger Sask 1 said...

That was so nice to read Carol.Its so easy to forget how amazing God animals can be.What a lovely photo of you both as well.I think it sounds like youve found your little place on this earth.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Grant said...

Great picture. But where are the penguin pictures you offered awhile back? Do you have a picture of yourself painting little bowties on them?

3:35 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

I share your love of animals, and I was fortunate to grow up in a city, but close enough to nature that I saw them often. I suspect of animals witnessed our mating rituals, they would laugh at us more than we laugh at them!

4:26 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

That was a lovely read...thank you. I love the picture...what a beautiful creature. I'm still laughing at the vision of the bull and the cow trying to get it on lol

7:24 PM  
Blogger blue2go said...

Another great post! You're so right, animals are pretty wonderful and we can learn a lot from them.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Alisa said...

Oh my! My comment is going to be completely out of line with your wonderful post, but the bull image reminded me of my dogs. I have two, a male and female, who are spayed and neutered. The female was humping the male last night. I think they're having identity crises. I need an animal psychiatrist.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Dave Morris said...

My dog is such a loving guy, he's always at my feet, sleeps bedside and is mister friendly when I need a buddy. I don't know what I'd do without Regis.

Kramer the cat is okay, too. But they're so independent sometimes you hardly see 'em!

11:11 PM  
Blogger Walker said...

Thats was a nice post as always.
Here where I live we have a huge farm in the middle of the city. It was donated to the government for the study of agriculture. Schools bring their students down to see the animals free of charge. We have moose and deer that occationally wander into the downtown core.

12:21 AM  
Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

Refreshing to read. I share your love of animals. I love to visit aquariums and zoos. I'm long overdue for a visit.

It sounds like you adore your job from this and other posts.

One of the primary reasons we bought our very modest home is for its woods in the backyard. I love the natural terrain plus the creatures that visit us, from fox, deer, chipmunks, beavers, to birds and butterflies.

Since I'm still new here, congrats to you and your fiancee! (I don't know how to make special characters to show the accent.)

3:29 AM  
Anonymous John said...

I've noticed the darting deer too. There are deer all over around here, and man can they blast through the woods at top speed!

6:11 AM  
Blogger jon said...

I can't help but to honk and wave at a field full of cows whenever I drive by. It seems more dignified than yelling MOOOO!

9:51 AM  
Blogger Jodi said...

Nice post. I also love animals and I remember wanting to be a veteranarian when I grew up. It wasn't in the stars I guess, but I also have the benefit of having zoos and an aquarium within driving distance.

10:09 AM  
Blogger dan said...

We have cows here that seem to be confused about there sexuality if you get my drift. Does that happen there?

8:58 PM  
Blogger Santanu said...

Since I am usually located away from the city, I get to see a lot of nature. I share your love for animals and enjoy viewing the occasional fox in the wild. However, that is about all I get to see apart from domesticated animals. The birds, of course, are a different story altogether, especially in this sub-Himalayan region. :-)

1:49 AM  
Blogger frustratedwriter said...

Wow, great day it sounds like! I grew up among the cows, sheep, and a few stubborn donkeys (uh the four legged kind, still surrounded by the two legged kind, I work for the state...) and find I miss the long hard days of working with them, whether it was shearing, cutting, branding, or doctoring. My dad gave me my first sex ed lesson while watching a young bull trying to mount a cow...His advice was something along the line of,
"See that? He isn't big enough to mate yet and looks rather foolish trying...You aren't big enough yet either..." I got the point.

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful day with us.

2:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that picture!

"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."

For a minute I thought you were describing Marine life- as in the USMC. (I'm married to a former Marine). ;)

6:27 AM  
Blogger dan said...

One day I'd like to swim with dolphins. I have to improve on my swimming first though.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Zube Girl said...

Great post! Thanks for making the spider part quick, as I'm scared of teeny weeny spiders, much less ones as big as hands. My pulse actually quickened reading it!

As a Jersey Girl transplanted in Colorado, I can totally relate! My city girl nurture, though, has led to some pretty comical experiences out here. Like the time I mistook the two bears on our back porch for the neighbors newfoundland dogs. Yeah. Don't feed the bears, folks.

Made me a bit gunshy to ever go outside and give treats to the poor newfies again!

Great photo!

10:27 AM  
Blogger Carol (Smiles and Laughter) said...

What a great post, Carol! I enjoyed the picture, too.

I can relate...although I'm about to move back to the city. Well, suburbs, but I won't be seeing cows, or coyotes, or deer anymore. It makes me a little sad.

10:51 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...


Great post and picture. That sounds like a ton of fun. Beth and I had a great time at the oceanario in Portugal and we were thinking about you while we went through it.

Have a great day, can't wait for your next post!

11:05 AM  
Blogger annush said...

Just yesterday I was watching Discovery Channel and they were taking a trip around Panama and showing the different spcies living there.
I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Now I wanna go move to a panamanian forest!

11:54 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

I have always called them Canadian geese. Canada geese just sounds so awkward anyway- so I guess I will continue to refer to them as Canadian.

I love wildlife. I wanted to live out in the country so that I would have plenty of wildlife. But I live in the city (small one anyway). I live near a river with a preserve, so I do get animals here like racoons, ocassionally a fox, and I have a groundhog that summers under my shed in the back yard. I really like the groundhog. It is gentle in the garden, eats almost exclusively weeds and keeps the neighborhood cats out of the shed and yard. It definitely earns its keep.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Raehan said...

Arent' you lucky to be near all that. Very nice post.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Lyvvie said...

That's a lovely post. I miss seeing all the birds that came to our garden. The Cardinals were my favorites! Blue Jays were pretty but what an awful racket they make! Plus they used to attack the cats. Fearless.

We had a family of red squirrels nearby that loved to live in the pear tree.

Here I see mostly seabirds and wee birds. The occasional deer and farmloads of cows. There's an ostrich farm nearby. The roadsign is funny; a picture of an ostrich X-ing. Not what you'd expect in Scotland!


10:18 AM  
Blogger katie said...

Wow, how lucky are you? I would love to be able to get that close to a whale!Thats really neat.
Thanks for the heads up about the Canada geese, I always called them Canadian as well.

2:05 PM  
Blogger mrsmogul said...

He is a cutie pie!!!

3:24 PM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

loved the mix of the different encounters/experiences. LOL at the last line! Very cute picture.

2:33 AM  
Blogger brooksba said...

Great picture and lovely post. Animals are amazing and taking the time to appreciate them is necessary. They are truly magnificent.


2:22 PM  
Blogger anumita said...

Lovely pic and lovely post. And you are indeed lucky to pass through nature on your way to work. Not many of us can claim that.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Nonsensical_Flounderings said...

Great post, I'm still awed being a Brit in the US watching Humming Birds at the feeders a neighbor has hanging up.

1:14 PM  

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