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Thursday, February 16, 2006



"Not all who wander are lost."
-the air freshener hanging from my rearview mirror

It's been a rough week. A very difficult coworker is bringing me down. I'm trying to diet and feeling hungry all the time. I keep realizing I'm clenching my teeth, and then I get stressed that I'm stressed.

So yesterday I treated myself to a yoga class in the middle of the week. I usually only go on the weekends because it's too hard to get to the studio after work. But yesterday I had a doctor's appointment downtown - fittingly, for the week I'm having, I was 10 minutes late and they tried to make me reschedule because of it...instead I decided to wait it out and they finally saw me an hour and a half later. Sigh. Anyway, since I was already downtown in the middle of the afternoon, I decided I'd treat myself to a yoga class. And it was heavenly. I couldn't completely clear my head, but I was able to relax. I left feeling warm and buzzy.

I decided to walk home - it was unseasonably mild, as in, 60 degrees (despite the fact that it snowed 4 days ago), and it had been a long time since I'd wandered through the city. I wanted to savor this good feeling; I wanted sensations that would keep my buzz going. Do you know that feeling, of good fullness tinged with knowing that the beauty of the world could slip away in another moment?

So I wandered, and when I passed Kramerbooks, and saw the children's books in the window, I thought maybe I'd buy books for my niece and nephew, who will be coming over on Saturday. So I drifted in - it felt like coming home, to be honest, after all the time I used to spend there, browsing, sitting in the bar with my husband, waiting in line for Sunday brunch - and found my way back to the children's book section, and that's where I discovered it: Owen and Mzee.

I am probably the last person on earth to hear this story, but apparently after the 2004 tsunami, an orphaned baby hippo decided to adopt a (male) 133-year-old turtle as his mom. And a man and his daughter decided to write a children's book about it. So there, staring out at me from the shelf, was this big photograph on the cover of a hippo and a turtle, his naked hippo head resting on the turtle's grand shell.

Animals disarm me. They snap me right out of myself. I didn't buy the book - the information about the tsunami seemed too upsetting to share with my 6-year-old nephew and 4-year-old nice - but as I walked home, soaking in the activity of the city on an early Wednesday evening (people walking their dogs, sitting on patios drinking beer, talking to loved ones on cell phones at crosswalks), I felt anchored.

More about Owen and Mzee:

I'll let ya know how the children's book is... I'd heard about the story, but didn't realize they'd make a book out of it. Decided to snap it up from Amazon before my mysterious free trial period of free 2nd shipping through Amazon Prime expires.
And we're trying to cultivate Lucy's detachment from death and tragedy, so this will fit right in.
Thanks for the link!
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