It’s been a creature-laden weekend. A long train ride to do a book signing in Northampton (Waterstones!) led to several deer sightings and some wonderful fox moments. The fox on the way out was curled at the foot of a tree, catching the sun. The second, on the way back, was stood in a field staring at the train.
Then on Sunday, we went up to the Birmingham Sa Life centre. Lots of interesting creatures there, including rays. I’m very fond of them, I love the way they move, the grace and how curious they are. The centre also has a giant sea turtle, a beautiful, slow moving creature, totally inspiring to be near too. The sense of peace in watching such a being, is inspiring. The creatures at this centre are either bred in captivity, or, like the sea turtle had to be rescued after injury or similar problem, and then could not be returned to the wild again.
Today there were tame deer, peacocks and other birds. Including some comedy chickens with feathers in improbable places. Last week I was feeding rooks. We had moored under a rookery, and they were coming down for bread, and getting right outside the windows.
It’s not the exotica particularly that inspires me, but the closeness, and the sense of connection – however fleeting. Really fires my imagination. The point where a creature makes eye contact, or accepts your presence, or just stays for a few seconds. Those are amazing, even when the creature is semi-tame, and predisposed to put up with you. I had a moment at the Wild Fowl Trust where a robin came down and took grain from my hand. It was a wild bird, in a bird friendly place, but even so…
The people comparisons are interesting. I’ve seen a lot of people this weekend. Most of them did not make eye contact with me. Most were so focused on whatever they were doing, that they weren’t going to notice anyone else. Didn’t want to. There were a handful of really good human interactions with people we didn’t know. But overall, meaningful moments with creatures this weekend were more numerous than meaningful interactions with people we didn’t know. It seems to me that the creatures are less wary or me, less fearful than the majority of humans, and that’s pretty scary.