Posts Tagged ‘walking’

Zoo Rules

7 November 2009

Dear J-

A few trips ago, we kept seeing apologetic signs at the Zoo talking about the new hippo — he had angry cracks on his back, which the signs explained was because he was having trouble fitting in with the rest of the family unit. It reminds me a little of when we first brought Oliver home with Bean — both dogs thought they were dominant, but the squabble a week later sorted things out pretty well; however, the new hippo has since been taken off-exhibit and we haven’t seen him much lately. It’s hard to reconcile the docile side they show — whenever we see them, they’re always in the same corner, soaking with only their nostrils above water, nearly as inert as the rocks nearby — with the violence you know they can muster.

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The Zoo’s reached a slow point again, off-season and so even on the weekend, the crowds weren’t thick around the most charismatic animals; our favorite routes were all flowing freely along. Whenever we go, there’s always a few people we keep seeing over and over again, especially when the visitors are relatively sparse; once you’re on certain paths, after all, you keep running into the same folks — there aren’t that many branches. So you end up with the choice of either cooperating or fighting; either rivals or fellows, but no choices in between.

Funny that we should believe that ourselves so far above animal emotions and yet here we are feeding rivalries for silly reasons: jockey for position, see the most animals, get in line first; how can we continue to push our personal agendas on our days off? Quiet moments are rare enough that we shouldn’t seek to introduce conflict — point out the animals to others, take your turn and move along without resentment.

Mike

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Dragons Fly

5 September 2009

Dear J-

The heat broke a bit today; we went to the Zoo and didn’t exactly melt, but we struggled a bit with the wills today. I’ve become inured to the fact that we’re not going to be using the backpack or stroller much — not when the arms are so willing to hoist her up in the air, not when it’s so easy to reject the other conveyances with the rigid back arch to slip out of our grasp. Therefore, both arms need to be free when we head out; I’ve tried using a shoulder bag, but I gave up on that a few weeks ago when one of the straps broke and dumped one of my cameras on the ground.

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You have a choice between what you get to hold, then; I did bring along a fair amount of gear today, but didn’t have much opportunity to pull the camera out of its holster or even swap lenses (recall that you will always have the wrong lens on the camera). I did dress like a freak, too — probably twenty pounds of gear, between diapers, water, lenses, and cameras distributed in the various pockets of a MOLLE LBV; that worked well in holding all my gear accessibly, not that I did much accessing. My hands were usually full with child — holding, lifting, and twirling — and to be honest, I’m not sure I missed any opportunities today.

Mike

Neighborhood Jaunt

17 January 2009

Dear J-

We just went for a walk, figgy and I, wandering without being lost through the streets of our neighborhood. Back when we were looking for a house, my idea of heaven was someplace both secluded and big — five acres and a mule would have suited me nicely, and the further out from a corrupting city, well so much the better, right? We’ve now been living in this house for a bit over five years, and there’s much to recommend it, in fact.

Let’s start with the twisting roads — although they’re reasonably modern (read wide) and not the cow paths that define central Boston, for a subdivision laid out in the 50s and 60s, there is a remarkable reluctance to conform to grids and squares, as in Cheney, where I grew up (Cheney being a railroad town, parallel streets were letters and perpendicular streets had numbers — we were on the corner of 4th and B).  This leads to any number of wonderful opportunities to turn the corner to find incongruities and dead ends.  Thus, our first rule is that you’re not allowed to backtrack to find familiar streets if you’re wandering the neighborhood — the whole point of wandering is to find new ways to get old places.  Plus it’s a skill that would come in handy if you were, say, being chased by zombies or vampires — you wouldn’t want to just head right back towards them.

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Secondly, and more importantly perhaps, is that you’re able to witness the creative nature of your neighbors — we ran across what may be the only brown-velour-and-pink Cadillac in the world parked in a driveway.  While there’s something to be said about seclusion and privacy, there are equally positive declarations to be made about getting to know about the people you’ve chosen to live with.

There are myriad ways to satisfy, in degraded ways no doubt, the exploratory urge that drives us all to find uncharted corners.  It may be a personal journey:  I haven’t been there before; it may be the first documented trip by mankind.  But remember for any trek, the number one rule is to bring along sufficient sustenance (in our case, snacks and milk) to last the journey, lest you find yourself short on rations and far afield.

Mike

figgy Rises

20 July 2008

Dear J-

It’s fun to watch figgy develop her personality further; we’re not so far beyond the I-want, but there’s glimmers of the person she’ll be.  Eating meals with her now becomes a group affair; squawks of protest greet every attempt to eat without sharing some of what you’ve got.  Here we’ve got to tread a little carefully, as eggs (and possibly peanuts) make her break out in hives — that stuff is everywhere, man.

With increased mobility (now featuring the Frankenstein’s Monster walk), the cats are no longer safe.  Unfortunately, that generally means trying to pick them up by the fur, or demonstrating love through direct pressure across the ribcage with her 80th percentile head (our pediatrician measures height, weight, and head circumference, assigning a “this is how many babies, percent-wise, that are smaller than this particular measurement” number).  I swear, one of the cats got up and wheezed for a few moments after a love hug.

And meanwhile, she keeps up her busy routines:  organizing (books on shelves apparently offend her), cleaning (ditto for used baby wipes in the trash can), and identifying (excited about airplanes, dogs, and birds; other babies, grudgingly, but boy does she go to town on her food).

Mike