The day of the Giraffe
I just read in Charis diary today, her trip to Amsterdam & then her entry before - a Zoo visit in Hanover. She wrote there "..but I think penguins are still the cutest of them all.." -
I don't know whether penguins are in general her favourite animals or just in this Zoo - I remember Gentry once told in her diary, that ostriches were here most favourite animals - that's funny, but understandable, because she's all in fashion & hasn't the ostrich with his prancing kind of walk-run & extended proud feathers high assemblance to fashion-clad ladies on a catwalk? -
My favourite animal is the giraffe - how grotesque she seems to a whole bunch of people - I love giraffes - did you ever see their slendering kind of walking, their big gazing gazelle-like eyes - living in an atmosphere high above the other creatures - without aggression to other creatures, out of reach of other creatures aggressions - she's to me like a dream creature.
In fact Giraffes became my favourite animals only somehow late in my life. - As a child - ok I got by then fascinated by all kind of cute animals (& I really liked my hamster), but for a time it was a 'Baummarder' (marten)
who fascinated me most because he looked so pretty with his white chest & was so quick & elegant & playful -
later on it was the fox - maybe I got influenced by the tales of 'Reinecke Fuchs' - a fable book of the dark ages, where the cunning & wise Fox was always the winner against his competitor, the Wolf, who alway was the dork in a world where Lion was the king
- later on, maybe also influenced by Mowgli, me & my younger brother built a shield out of wood, looking like an mediaeval heraldic emblem - we painted them very carefully - mine was divided in 2 vertical halves - the left with background red - the other half with 'blue' (or yellow?) - I think it had yellow & blue stripes diagonal, similar to this emblem:
see the diagonal stripes here in this old German (Saarlouis) Wappen (emblem)
& from the middle vertical line to left I painted a fox head & his body shown to his first pawns - to the right - there was the head of a wolf.
So cunning & strength united.
We did some little fights with these wooden shields & some wooden sword , we had built - well just little childish fun fights.
Later on since youth, my favourite animal was the black panther (remember Bagheera - remember Rilke's poem - read it in the *epilogue)
- you feel so strong & invincible in that age, but also endangered by the establishment that won't give you volunteerly the place you try to reach in life - so claws, strength, eloquence & lithe stealth are nice attributes to fight your way from childish subordinance to autarky - I think most youths in that age prefer to become beasts of prey, than beasts of burden or just victims (which in most cases they become anyway later in life..) -
but after I've got, fought or reached my ever changing place in life, I lost a lot of that youth aggressivenes, & still not too much attracted by pure power, I got much more attracted by overview, wisdom & conscience - I'd rather be the observer in a lonely wooden tower, than the cruel & stupid emperor in his palace of greed - so the image of a giraffe - being not a beast of prey, but by his high view somehow superior & saved by size to be prey & neither hunter nor victim - how attracive to my soul - so since I was about 30, the giraffe became my favourite animal - (so if favourite animals change by age, maybe my fave animal if I'm 110 will be the turtle, that in it's slow life can reach an age up to 200 years..
Nurenberg has a big & fantastic Zoo, because it's built in an wood near Nurenberg with strong rock formations, building natural valleys and walls for a lot of animals (if in future I go there - I'll show here a lot of fotos) but I haven't been there since years - just when I read today Charis' entry, I thought: "Why not go there this weekend?" - but then remembered, that today an acquaintance had told me, that there shots near his house, when an jealous man shot his wife down & with a random bullet also hit a biker who drove there just by chance - the woman is dead, the man on the bike lies seriously injured in the hospital & the man on the bike was the director of the Zoo!! - So I doubt, whether it would be a good idea, to go there this weekend - on the other hand - it's like with the Tsunami - for Thailand e.g. it would have been a second catastrophe if after the catastrophe, the tourists wouldn't come anymore - hmm
Ain't she wonderful? - My beautyful dream Giraffe!
A friend of mine, she was in a pedagogical school for an education as lady teacher in kindergartens - in their lessons they had also this psycholical role playing stuff etc. - once they should judge each other by telling what kind of animal they thought would fit to the each other - so someone in the group found the picture of a giraffe apt to my friend - she felt deeply hurt & insulted by that - but when she told me about that, I thought: "she should have seen it as a compliment" - she had also these antilope like dreamy eyes, that giraffes have & anyway - giraffes, with their heads in the clouds are really superior to all those little anxious critters down there..
The Panther (by Rainer Maria Rilke)
Im Jardin des Plantes, Paris
His vision from the passing of the bars
is grown so weary that it holds nor more.
To him it seems there are a thousand bars
and behind a thousand bars no world.
The padding gait of flexibly strong strides,
that in the very smallest circle turns,
is like a dance of strength around a center
in which stupefied a great will stands.
Only sometimes the curtain of the pupil
soundlessly parts. Then an image enters,
goes through the tensioned stillness of the limbs
and in the heart ceases to be.
in original German:
Der Panther (von Rainer Maria Rilke)
Im Jardin des Plantes, Paris
Sein Blick ist vom Vorübergehn der Stäbe
so müd geworden, daß er nichts mehr hält.
Ihm ist, als ob es tausend Stäbe gäbe
und hinter tausend Stäben keine Welt.
Der weiche Gang geschmeidig starker Schritte,
der sich im allerkleinsten Kreise dreht,
ist wie ein Tanz von Kraft um eine Mitte,
in der betäubt ein großer Wille steht
Nur manchmal schiebt der Vorhang der Pupille
sich lautlos auf. Dann geht ein Bild hinein,
geht durch der Glieder angespannte Stille
und hört im Herzen auf zu sein.
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