We human beings are so egocentric.
By this I mean that I am a human being. And egocentric.
But once in a while we get a strong dose of reality.
By this I mean that once in a while I realize that I’m not quite as magnificent as I usually believe myself to be.
Oh, sometimes I feel that down deep I am still quite magnificent. I can’t help myself.
But oh those other times. When I see how foolish and incompetent I am.
Like when I write an important email with three major typos. Like when I burn the oatmeal. Like when I can’t find the pen I just put down.
This week when I was distracted in Yoga class by the woman in front of me, who kept doing every movement and pose on the wrong side. It was really upsetting my rhythm and I was beginning to feel quite un-yoga-like-annoyed. Until I realized that I was the one who was doing everything on the wrong side.
I know that some human beings are very hard on themselves. They dwell on their shortcomings and never feel like they are good enough.
Not me though. I am very understanding of myself. No one is more forgiving of me than me. I am good at laughing off my blunders. Excusing my worst faults. After all – underneath it all I know I am quite magnificent.
Which is why I need someone to remind me once in a while that I am as stupid as the next human being. Sometimes stupider.
And lately, it’s been non-humans that have reminded me of my all-too-human failings.
April the Giraffe.
That girl had her baby on her OWN schedule. She let human beings stare at computer-nothingness for two months. And then with complete composure, walked around with hooves sticking out of her backside for a couple of hours.
And just when my admiration for April was at its zenith, then came the baby. Holy shit, that baby rocked his own birthing. He wasn’t in any more of a hurry than his mom. Just lettin’ those hooves groove – like you’d put your finger in the air to test the wind. And then finally, finally – with April so mellow I don’t even think she bothered to push – he drops SIX FEET. SIX FEET! SIX FEET with a slurpy kerplunk. Newborn. SIX FOOT FALL. Holy crap – I thought he’d killed himself for sure. But nope. Less than forty minutes later, that tough little bugger stood up and walked around.
Just how cool would it be if human beings walked around an hour after being born? And how annoying. I think the only way mothers survive the first few months without a mental collapse is because when they put the baby down, it pretty much stays put. Imagine if every time you went to the bathroom, you then had to search your house to find where you newborn has wandered off to.
And me? Fifteen years of Yoga, and I can’t balance on one leg. Baby Giraffe: 40 minutes, strolling.
My husband took up riding this year, and with this new passion, he received several nice books about horses for Christmas. There’s one I especially like, filled with interesting factoids. One section is all about maturity. When a horse is five years old, its physical maturity could be compared to a 23-year-old human. Its mental maturity is equivalent to a 25-year-old human. Let that sink in a minute. Physically 23 and mentally 25. Mental maturity beyond its physical years. When I was 23, I had the mental maturity of a 15-year-old. Truly. I wrote poetry while I ate peanut butter from the jar. And I walked around all winter with a nail in my boot, wondering why my foot hurt.
My 16-year-old cat Stewart jumped three times his height to a counter to retrieve a catnip toy. I had hid it behind the clock radio to protect it from being eaten by the dog. Stewart the Cat did not see me hide it there. But he jumped up there and found it anyway. I cannot find my pen. I used it an hour ago.
And speaking of my dog, every human knows that dogs can hear much better than humans. They can hear frequencies we cannot. And they can hear at a distance that is four times the human capacity. When my dog Theo is out in the yard and it is time to come him, I call him. He doesn’t even lift an ear. So I yell louder. Yeah, that helps. I’m sure he couldn’t hear me the first time.
When I was in college I took a course in Beekeeping. I took a course in pretty much everything – because I liked school very much and didn’t really like the idea of graduating. I may be one of the only persons in the world who has college credits in Beekeeping AND Bookkeeping. I guess I am a Keeper. But back to bees. Did you know that when a scout bee finds a really good source of nectar, she goes back to the hive and does a complicated dance to tell her sisters all about it? A guy named Karl Von Frisch studied honeybees his whole life, and here I am, forty-six years after my Beekeeping course, with his fascinating research permanently etched into my head. (Which may be the only thing I remember from college – but that’s another story.) Anyway, the bee tells her sisters through an elaborate dance exactly where the treasure is, with directions and distance in the swing of her little bee hips. And the bees take ONLY as much fuel as they need to get there. Not in the meandering route that the original bee may have taken to find the food source, but in the EXACT amount to get there in a direct beeline – so to speak. Because they want to be exactly on empty when they reach the nectar – so they can bring home absolutely as much as possible, and are not weighed down by their own leftovers.
We had dinner for six this Easter Sunday. When my sister picked up the bowl of mashed potatoes she said:
“This is really heavy. How many potatoes did you cook?”