Saturday, October 30, 2010

fall fashion

I have lived in the desert seven years without ever visiting the zoo. This is no accident. As someone who finds the desert heat - particularly in late October, when everything in me is yearning to experience a taste of fall - not only oppressive, but deppressive, as in depressing, I was sure that, for me, given my particular propensities and predilections, paying the price of admission in order to meander around a park full of animals in actual cages would be almost negligent.

Today, however, with the move delayed by a few days, the girls and I cast off all constraints and headed to the center of town to feed the giraffes.

The effect turned out to be quite opposite of what I expected: rather than causing me to bemoan my presence in Arizona - which is a bit like a reverse Narnia in that, here, it is always summer and never Christmas - I actually began to celebrate it.

It's difficult to explain why, exactly, only I know that something quite palpable began to happen the moment I set foot in the aviary. So much life! So much color! True, the birds were in cages but this didn't keep them from strutting and pecking and nodding their beaks at me. In short, it did not keep from being birds.

Suddenly, I felt I had been welcomed into a society of my betters - the only one whose external appearance was pure pretense - who had to resort to wearing clothes, for example.

Forget whatever fall fashions are being touted at the moment, have you ever really examined the head of a crown pigeon? Why, it is absolutely extraordinary! Their eyes are the brightest vermilion; their crown feathers as stiff as dried moss, as frail and fine as pressed flowers. It's no wonder such birds are often personified as aristocrats with monocles. If I hadn't been pushing a stroller I'm almost sure I would have curtsied in reverence.


Lindsay said...

As I sit here and count down the days till I can return to the dry heat where cockroaches and mosquitos cannot survive, I'm amused (and maybe a bit convicted) by the whole "the grass is always greener"! But I REALLY can't wait till we can join you at the zoo the next time you venture there! :)

Kate Carmack said...

Heather, you and your girls truly know how to dress the part ;)