Have you ever had a moment in your life where you feel so full, so present, so in sync, so alive that you felt your heart might burst?
This was my day today.
I woke to a beautiful sunny day after days upon days of snow and rain. And don't get me wrong, I love the snow and the rain. But, today with the sun shining, I had my first glimpse of the balanced, longer days of the approaching Spring. It stayed light much longer than I had expected.
I had debated whether to go to the Globus in downtown Zurich, which is very similar indeed to Harrod's in London (which I loved and visited many times while living there) or the Zoo. After much deliberation, I decided that I had never taken the tram North, only into the city. I chose to go to the Zoo.
I arrived rather late (at 3:30pm) – as the zoo closes during these months at 6pm. I payed my $24 dollars. I walked briskly in the cool air, and it was funny. I didn't feel alone. Or like I should have company. For one of the first times in my life, I didn't feel alone or lonely, I felt just, fine, happy to be walking. Happy to be out. Happy to be in the cold sunshine-y day.
Now, I have mixed feelings about zoos. Is it right to keep animals behind bars? Is it right to keep them in small quarters? But .. I think mostly I am ok with them, for I really do think they treat the animals well. The animals are well fed. Their health attended. And no soulless poachers to kill them "just because", or slaughter them for their horns or their heads upon walls.
I had a strange dream last night. And I am partially reluctant to share this, but it seems to make this story a bit grander. I had a dream of a rhinoceros last night. I have no idea why. Usually my dreams are beyond scary, or at the least, beyond the guidance of a helpful dream book. So, when I saw the inside enclosure for the Rhinoceros, I thought "why not?". Usually I always gravitate to the Elephants and the Lions. But… why not?
It was a very surreal, smelly enclosure. Wild birds one would find in the Serengetti flew without enclosure overhead, and, unlike American zoos where there is a 25' distance between oneself and the animals, there was a mere, 5-7'.
I stopped at the first Rhino. I leaned forward and snapped some photos. He ate blissfully, then looked over. A couple came to stand beside me. The Rhino did a circle around his enclosure and then …. stood at the edge and leaned his head as close to me as he could get! I snapped a photo.
His face was not 6" from my own. "He is attracted to you," the woman said … Is that common? "Um, no, I have come here since I was a little girl… I would say … um, no …"
I was in awe and … rather frightened, only because I was desperate to touch his horn, but sure he would snap at me. But then … I did. I put my camera down and reached out to touch him. He let me. He moved his head up and down a few times. The couple next to me were flabbergasted. I was flabbergasted. And then… he moved away to drink some water. This was, like, the best $24 of my entire life. Seriously. The only thing better than this would be smooshing my face against an elephant's trunk, riding a unicorn, or brushing a lion's mane. Epic.
Now…. I have no idea what any of this means. It might mean cosmically nothing. But to me, it meant so much. I spent the day FULL. Just in love. And grateful.
I am surrounded by so much lately, I almost feel fearful of when I leave it behind. But, I know that is not the way to live. I have two of my best friends here. A new baby to adore. A magical locale. A mystical African animal (you know I LOVE and dream of africa, yes?) who touched me. And … so much to explore. And when I am not exploring, I am sitting watching the rain, or walking on a beautiful day such as today.
Do I deserve this? I ask myself. I don't want this to end, it's been such a long time since I felt such Magic.
And then I remind myself. This… This… THIS… is how we all should feel. Awake, and aware, and alive.