Animals are good for people.

October 9, 2012

OVERHEARD IN HOLDEN HALL: (While watching the season premiere of “Jersey Shore”) “Wow, as I’m watching this show I can actually feel myself getting smarter and smarter.”

So many things have happened since last week that I hardly know where to start.  I could be writing right now about watching Finding Nemo in Spanish class (you should watch it in Spanish; there’s nothing like Dory speaking in Spanish-whale to get me giggling).  I could also write about the fact that, next week, Gould will receive 8 Spanish exchange students for a week-long visit.  Or I could write about the 7 hours I spent cooking tapas for our current Chinese visitors (somewhere out there is a digital camera absolutely filled with pictures of me doing exotic things, like frying potatoes and slicing bread).  And then I remembered the REALLY great thing I did last week.

I went to the Fryeburg Fair with my 10-year-old daughter.  Cue the “awwwwww” soundtrack.

If you know Chaia  (rhymes with “papaya”) then none of this will be news to you.  If you don’t, please let me indroduce her.  Chaia is a girl with (as she said once when she was 3 years old) “big feelings.”  When she’s sad, it looks like the world is about to end.  When she’s happy, she does her “happy dance.”  Yes, she actually has a “happy dance.”  Ask to see it sometime.  Sometimes I think that “righteous indignation” was an emotion specifically invented with her in mind.

Anyways, Chaia is a larger-than-life character, and I treasure my special “Daddy-Chaia time”.  Especially when the big emotion of the day is excitement.  It’s fairly obvious when she is excited, because she intermittently turns purple from forgetting to breath in between sentences.  Sometimes she forgets to pause entirely, going on for twenty minutes or so until she falls down from dizziness.  So when I suggested a date to the fair, she readily agreed.  In fact, she kept agreeing all the way to the fair (“We’re having fun together today, aren’t we dad?”- over and over and over and….)

For both Chaia and me, the best part about going to the fair is the opportunity to see all of the animals.  Spirit of full disclosure:I am a suburban boy.  I was raised in an area known more for it’s shopping than for it’s wildlife.  So the act of visiting an animal as exotic as a long-eared rabbit fills me with Chaia-level excitement.  It’s not that I don’t know or understand animals, it’s just that my neighborhood didn’t really lend itself to chickens, goats, or miniature horses (Google them-they are the cutest thing you’ll ever see).  So fair-time means animal time for me.  And Chaia and I discovered another thing at the fair this Saturday.

We both want a goat.

???

I know what you’re thinking:  Doug, WHAT would you do with a goat?  Well, I’ll tell you.

No idea. Milk it? Play with it? Take it for walks on a leash with our cute-loyal-dumb dog?  Nope, no real idea yet.

But I really want one (or two, or three; they are herd animals after all).  I fell like proximity to animals helps me (and others?) get a more holistic understanding of the world.  And this is why I also love the Gould barn so much.  Every day there’s an opportunity to connect with other species in a way not possible in the fast-paced world of the suburbs.  Goats remind me that there is magic in something as simple as a scratch under the chin.  So I’m getting one.  Or two, or three.

But please don’t tell my wife yet.  I need to figure out how to explain this first; after all, Chaia’s “big  feelings” come from somewhere, don’t they?

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