I think the nature-loving indoctrination must’ve started when we were very young. Possibly still in utero. My childhood memories all involve animals of some kind, the books we were read and then chose for ourselves frequently featured animals, and I do remember the trip to the alligator farm in Florida as a highlight of that trip. Sure, we went to Disney Land which was cool, but there were lines, and it was hot, and frankly quite a long day. The gators though, they were interesting. Possibly because there was an element of peril which we really took to as children.
As The Mom has been doing some more travelling recently, she has begun to send through some of the pictures from her adventures. She has been to every zoo, nature preserve, sanctuary, or feeding station she can find.
I recently saw that film with Matt Damon about the people down in Dartmoor who bought a zoo and I wondered why The Mom had never gone so far as to just get a zoo. I mean, sure we’d have had no idea of how to run it, and it would been a catastrophe but I’m sure it would’ve also been great fun.
She went to the Cayman Islands a few years back, and the majority of the pictures are from some kind of small animal touching place. Not quite a zoo, but something similar. It seems her hosts had perhaps run out of things with which to entertain her, and in desperation had taken her – along with their children – to this petting zoo type place. Oh but she adored it. There’s a picture of her holding a turtle, a picture of her feeding birds.
When she stays in a resort, what you wind up hearing about most are the random animals she encounters. Less so about the resort, the other people who were there, or what they did. No, instead you get long chats about the footprints that were in the sand from some unknown creature, the parrots that lurked around the table at dinner, that sort of thing.
The trip to Australia last year? Nearly broke her from so much excitement. It was so thrilling, and the wildlife so exceptional, that she actually bought a digital camera. She went through numerous memory cards too. Almost all her pictures are of animals.
So on this most recent Mexican jaunt, I was in no way surprised to hear about the adventure of the turtles.
I can just picture it. There they are, a group of grown adults, lingering after dinner, enjoying a glass of wine, when The Mom might see something out of the corner of her eye. Ever the nosey journalist at heart, she will of course go over and see what’s going on. Having realised that this is some kind of scientific turtle baby-making operation, she would’ve squeed so loudly, everyone on the beach would’ve heard her delight. And possibly wondered why a small child was out so late.
I imagine her scampering as close as possible to get the best view, and refusing to leave until the last turtle had shuffled off into the sea. I can also imagine her narrating each movement of the turltes – individually and en masse – as they made their way down to the water. I know this because we watched a David Suzuki nature programme over Christmas, and she couldn’t stop oohing and awing at the fish we were seeing.
What I love about all this is that though she’s travelled near and far, and seen some pretty interesting things in her day, she is in no way jaded. She still talks about the local African Lion Safari with fondness, and if you invited her, she’d jump at the chance to go.
In fact, I’m trying to get her to come visit me here in England, and have been using the local flora and fauna to help. There is an island in the Bristol Channel that has puffins. I have been sending a lot of puffin pictures her way. And if that doesn’t work, I know not what will.