Bright, loud, weird and delicate

I photographed this monkey in Roatan, Honduras, in March 2011.

I photographed this monkey in Roatan, Honduras, in March 2011.

“I wish I could convey the perfection of a seal slipping into water or a spider monkey swinging from point to point or a lion merely turning its head. But language founders in such seas. Better to picture it in your head if you want to feel it…I spent more hours than I can count a quiet witness to the highly mannered, manifold expressions of life that grace our planet. It is something so bright, loud, weird and delicate as to stupefy the senses.”
Yann Martel

I’ve made no secret of my lack of respect for most television programs, but I love the way TV has enabled us to see animals in ways that were never possible before.  While nothing can replace the thrill of encountering a wild animal face to face, such encounters are brief at best, and can hardly give us a true representation of these fascinating creatures.

Matt loves to watch PBS and Animal Planet, both of which sometimes stop me in my tracks if I pass through the room when an interesting animal show is on.  It’s really tempting to sit down and watch, even if I don’t have time.  In any case, I’m happy that Matt gets so much enjoyment from watching them.

Martel is right that words are inadequate to describe animals in all their stunning variety, but photos and especially videos can give us the next best thing to a real-life encounter.  And a well-made nature film, or really even a funny amateur YouTube clip, is a great way to grab a quick escape from the stresses of everyday human life.

If you’ve spent any time at all on the internet, you must surely have a few favorite animal videos.  Feel free to send us some links to share here – and let’s have a wild time!

One year ago today

A mirror and a book

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia!
    I’ve long thought that I enjoy zoos and aquariums more than the average adult. I can’t figure out why more adults don’t seem to have the inclination to linger and soak up the bright, loud, delicate weirdness. It is pretty awesome.

    • Sadly, some have come to see zoos as a form of cruelty to animals. I think a well-run natural habitat zoo is just the opposite; nature does not provide the level of health care and protection from predators that an ethical zoo will provide. Besides, the up-close observation of animals that a good zoo provides is at least partly what has driven the move toward animal rights and preservation. On a more mundane level, some object to the smells, or to being outside in the sun or the heat, as one often is at a zoo. And far too many adults shun anything remotely associated with childhood, staying busy with gadgets, vehicles, entertainment screens, sports or anything that involves alcohol. Their loss.

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

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