by cheri block
My daughter and I took her two-year-old to Happy Hollow on one of the coldest days of the year here in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Only the brave and stupid showed up to see the animals, ride the carousel, and thaw out in the snack shack.
As is customary, along with my travel coffee mug, my camera joined our shivering entourage.
A little grandson, refusing to smile when coaxed and only eating French fries dipped in mustard, reminded me that we are individuals from birth to death.
The meerkat stared right back at me. Confident, he was.
He summoned his whole family out of its den. And they did the same: stared intensely, confidently, curiously.
So, there we were, transfixed in a stare-down (not unlike those on trains in Europe).
On to the largest rodent in the world. The word “rodent” conjures up fond childhood memories of my two hooded rats, Pixie and Dixie. It also reminds me of a grisly site several years ago when Dinah and our cat Bobb split a wild rat for dinner. And somewhere in the cavernous recesses of my meerkat mind, I remember when a small frenetic mouse, lost and darting around my classroom, caused me to scream in front of my freshmen.
The capybara, so gentle and quiet, appeals to me. Then why shall we see the jaguar?
Are we strangely attracted to such power?
“It’s time for lunch. Our lips have turned blue,” I observe.
To the snack shack, we go, but not before disappearing into pure fantasy with my favorite mythological beast: the dragon.
Fries (with mustard) consumed, veggie burgers inhaled, into the SUV we huddled.
Meerkat? Capybara? Jaguar? Dragon?
I’m looking through you, what do I see?
Which creature is most like you?
* lyrics by McCartney/Lennon, 1965.