Monday, November 14, 2016

"Gentle Giants"

I think I've decided on my spirit animal: the Giraffe.
I kinda pilfered it from Ma, the animal-loather who admires only one four-legged creature on this earth. Her fondness is known even to the kinfauna; one niece painted a giraffe bud vase for her, Ma's most beloved gift from any of her descendants. (I'm not even insulted.)

My conclusion was precipitated by a Nature program; I usually avoid those, since the Circle of Life tends to roll over furry cuteness to astonishing degrees, but giraffes, of course, would be the exception. 

Giraffes are spectacular. They're refined, graceful, csinos (that's a Hungarian term regarding the svelteness of their figures), and stunning. 

They don't make scenes. They don't lose their heads. They raise their children with love and discipline. They are social beings, yet keep conversation to a minimum. They care for one another, taking turns to sleep while keeping watch. They have sick eyelashes.
Yet they aren't pushovers. They aren't meek and accepting. Since a casual kick can decapitate, lions are leery. Giraffes, for all their leggy beauty, are strong and capable. In other words: Don't mess.

These giraffes are the epitome of my personal expectations: Considerate dignity, calm competence, minding boundaries with kind strength. Plus, to carry off weirdness with panache and charm.

The basis of this episode was about giraffe relocation from a dubious area to a safe preserve. Capturing the giraffes is a daunting process. Tranquilizers cannot be left in their system for long, so they are awake when herded aboard. But when these wild animals were guided onto the truck, they regally ascended the plank. Their gaze remained curious but unpanicked. No frantic whites of the eyeballs showed. As the truck trundled along, they tranquilly observing the passing scenery—for hours—elegantly accepting the snacks offered.
When I was a kid, we once went to the Bronx Zoo (we always pass out before we hit the Asia section, so I never saw the pandas) and there actually was a giraffe in the Giraffe House. It stood tall, straight, proud, legs tucked in neatly, as still as a statue. (We actually thought it was a statue, except that it was placidly chewing its cud: "There it goes up! . . . There it goes down! . . .")
We were glued. We probably wasted a whole roll of film. (It was unfazed by the repeated flash.)

Few other species are the same. They are prone to unwarranted hysteria. They plod like peasants. They know themselves to be prey, with no other aspirations. The herbivore giraffe, whilst split of hooves, is no pushover. 

Okay, so the giraffe is MINE. Anyone got a spirit animal to share?  


Daniel Saunders said...

I thought spirit animals were a bit, you know... pagan. Either way, I don't really have a favourite animal, spirit or otherwise.

I also remember being fascinated by giraffe cud chewing at London Zoo.

Princess Lea said...

"Yehuda ben Tema taught: Be bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, fast as a deer, and strong as a lion to do the will of your Father in Heaven."

(To clarify, according to Rabbi Natan Slifkin, it is not an eagle, but actually a vulture.)