April 2018

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Animal Spirits

Last night our writer's group had our second meeting. It was awesome. We wrote about what animal we would be, and at the end I remembered a similar exercise that i had done with a writing class twenty five years ago. 

I am inviting the group to post their own. I hope they will. The writing, like the people, was varied and fun.

What kind of animal are you?

1) I am a cat. I am not like a cat. I am a cat. I curl in front of the fire, toasting myself in the best place, the place where the heat is most radiant. I meow when I want your attention or when my food bowl is empty. When I feel like it, you can pet me and I will purr. When I’m tired of your attention, I’ll walk away without saying good-bye. If you sit in my favorite chair, the deep lounger by the fireplace, I may sit in your lap. Or I may just look at you until you move.

Sometimes, I like to play. I chase little suns reflecting off of the dinner knives. I chase dust balls, but I never throw them away. I never chase my tail. That is ridiculous.

I play only if I am in the mood to play. If you want me to chase a string, but I want to rest, I will almost close my eyes, leaving only little suspicious slits to keep my eye on you.

I am an outdoor cat. I run in the grass. I chase shadows. I stretch in the sun. I have claws.

When you pet me, I rumble quietly, a lawn mower sound of contentment. My hair sheds onto your hand, but do not stop. I like being close to you even when I pretend that I do not care.

2) I am a dolpin. I swim in the ocean with the sharks, but I don’t get too grim when they bare their teeth. I tell them jokes and hope that some day they will laugh. They never do.

When I swim with my friends, we jump through the ocean’s waves just before they break. Synchronized diving. I like it when the seagulls or the pelicans come close to watch us.

In the summer tides, I swim into the sound. Small children jump in the water at the shallow shoreline.  They clap their hands and point at me. They are my soulmates.

I follow ski boats, dancing in their wake. I watch over fallen skiers. I love and I protect.

3) I am a turtle. I carry my house, which I call a backpack, on my shoulders. I move slowly. If there is a bright light, I bob my head in its direction. I will not rush.

I was born wrinkled, already old before my time began.

When I hatched, I dug myself out of a sandy hole and fliippered my little shell over hot sand mounds to the ocean’s shore, watched over by sentimental tourists and frigate birds. I do not want to be a frigate bird snack. I have not yet lived long, but I know that I do not want to die yet. I work for life.

I want to go to the home where I belong, an ocean of warm and cool currents, friendly starfish and blob-like jellyfish. An ocean where I can go unnoticed.

I carry my home wherever I go. My shell is my home and my shell is my shield, too.  When I feel shy or uncertain, I pull my head in unapologetically. I am a rock.

You will not know me. You will know only my shell.

Twenty-five  years ago, a friend who is now a psychiatrist told me about an exercise in which you ask someone three times What kind of animal they would be. Each answer gave some insight into the person, which I think was:

What kind of animal are you?
1)   How you see yourself.
2)   How you want others to see you.
3)   How you truly are.

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