Running Free

Running Free

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Birds, Bees and Buzzards

Recently, my family and I went to the San Diego Zoo. It is one of my favorite places. The sights, the sounds, the never ending wonder and amazement of animals and birds and the obvious care that the folks who run the place take to keep it clean and well maintained.

I have a fascination with the Archipelago Tortoise. A rather big fellow. Several of them actually. I also have a habit of talking to animals. Like a female version of Dr. Doolittle - really - a combination of Eliza Doolittle - just a bit left of center and the infamous straight down the center line - Dr. Doolittle who had a way with words and two headed llamas.

There was one particular tortoise to whom I yelled out a jolly "hello and good morning" greeting. He lifted his wrinkled sweater neck and sauntered over from his end of the enclosure to come have a chat. At least that is what I told my son and husband as they stood there shaking their heads. (There is a lot of that in my family- especially when it involves my escapades as harmless as they may be.)

Well, as this giant tortoise with a very big shell and leathered well-worn feet made its way to me there was a smaller much more petite tortoise quietly grazing in the corner near where I was standing. She was so quiet (most tortoises are actually) that I didn't notice her. But as the approaching Big Daddy tortoise made his way at a fairly quick gait I might add she poked her head up and around and realized that Big Daddy wasn't coming to greet me with a smile. He was enroute to an unplanned rendezvous with Little Miss Tortoise.

Well, she stopped munching on her delectable grass and took off - I do mean as in jet plane tortoise speed. I didn't know that tortoises could move so quickly.

Well, of course my son and husband are witnessing this and my son is thinking it is a game of chase. And so it is. I know what is coming next. Because it never fails that every time I go to the zoo, these amphibians never fail to be well, active for lack of a more discrete word.

And what better way to explain the facts of life to my son who is a precocious curious one - and I frankly wouldn't have it any other way- except that his questions and life lessons do seem to come at rather well, awkward moments.

"Dad, why is that big tortoise trying to climb on top of that little tortoise.?"

And I cringe a bit as I know what is coming next. And lo and behold.

"Grrrrr, Awarrhhhhooooo...."

"Dad, is that the tortoise making those noises.?"

My husband by this time has burst out in a full throttled laugh and I am quietly trying to keep it all light and fluffy, "Isn't nature amazing. You never know what wonderful bits of life will unfold before your eyes when you come to the zoo."

My son and husband look over at me and in a fairly loud voice and my son asks, "Mom are the turtles mating?"

Now I am not sure exactly what he knows at his tender age or doesn't. We haven't actually had the "birds, bees and buzzards" talk. But if he asks a question, I always try and be truthful- within limits.

My son knows that Dad has given Mom a special sugar and that is how he came about. Now for years (mind you he asked me this question when he was quite young- four or five and the answer has suited him quite fine for the past few years.) I was driving and had to think quick...

But now, he wants to know did I drink the sugar, etc.

My husband of course never manages to keep a straight face whenever this conversation comes up.

"So Dad, how did you give mom the special sugar?"

My husband's eyebrows will raise and his neck will scrunch- kind of like that of the tortoise and he looks over at me and will inquire of me, "So honey, how exactly did I give you the special sugar.?"

And up until the interaction with aforementioned tortoises I would respond with something like, "When you get a bit older son I promise to share all the amazing wonders of life- for now though know that we love you and created you with love."

And that would do it. Finis. Sans mas.

Up until now. Here they were Big Daddy and Little Miss demonstrating coitus front and center loud and clear. And now my son wanted to know how and where the special sugar went.

Well, without going into particulars, one can imagine that the birds and the bees and the buzzards was given in an annotated fashion over a Dippin' Dots ice cream and a long walk around the Zoo.

And it was all good. Nature is that. Wonderful, powerful, unexpected and oh so much more - just like life....

No comments: